THE Scottish Schools touring squad of 1988 will come together some 35 years later to take on the Doddie88 challenge to raise funds for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

The challenge will see Doddie’s former teammates from the 1988 Scottish Schools tour to New Zealand take on an 88km adventure over two days in the hope of raising £88,000 towards research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

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On Thursday, March 16, the group of 22 former players – plus the original coaching staff – will set off on the 65km cycle from the Carter Bar, on the border between Scotland and England, and head to Melrose for well-earned ‘refreshments’ after taking in a challenging route via Bonchester Bridge, Ancrum and Scott’s View.

The following day the group will then walk 23km from Carlops in the Pentland Hills, via Balerno, the Water of Leith and to Doddie’s statue at Murrayfield later that afternoon. They will spend the evening reminiscing about great tour stories of Doddie before taking the walk the next day for the game against Italy.

Border Telegraph:

Gary Kenhard, who skippered the Scottish Schools squad, said: “It is fantastic that so many members of the ’88 squad have come together for Doddie. Team-mates are travelling from France, Singapore, Gibraltar, Australia and Canada – it’s incredible!

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“I can fully understand why they are coming; it was a special tour, with special people, and at the centre of it all was the magnificent Doddie Weir. I was proud to lead the lads back then and having Doddie as a team-mate made the tour an absolute pleasure.

“Doddie was the type of person who would run alongside you in your time of need. Although we are not as fit as we once were, we are steadfastly determined to return Doddie’s support by putting in a shift which raises as much cash as possible for MND.”

On that 1988 tour to New Zealand in the July and August they travelled across both the north and south islands which was quite an experience for some of the young tourists, some of whom had never left Scotland before.

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Playing against Otago, Taranaki and Waikato district sides, among others, the team spirit that they built and the experiences they endured built the foundations for life-long friendships and bond that still remains strong today.

Rob Moffat – who was head coach of the touring squad and is now director of rugby at Melrose – said: “It is great that so many of that squad have reunited to do this challenge for Doddie & MND. He was a huge presence on and off the field on that tour and would have loved the banter that will be shared over these three days.

“It shows what the camaraderie in rugby is all about and what Doddie meant to this group. It will also further help the MND cause which Doddie worked tirelessly for over the past few years”.

As Doddie once famously said of his condition: “My attitude is that you should do what you can today and worry about tomorrow when it comes. This is the card I have been dealt, so I have just got to crack on.”

So that is why 35 years later 22 of his team-mates from the Scottish Schools tour of New Zealand in 1988 have committed to “crack on” and raise as much money as we can for MND research in tribute to their much-loved team-mate.

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The Scottish Schools touring squad of New Zealand 1988:

Doddie Weir (Stewarts Melville), Gary Kenhard, Captain (Harris Academy), Stuart Paul (George Heriot’s), Dan Pulfrey (Morrisons Academy), Barnaby White (Golspie High School), Jeremy Jowett, Graeme Walsingham, Nick White and Andy Hay (all Merchiston Castle), Russell Adam, Andy Ness, Karl Squires and Gary Sisman* (all Dollar Academy), Scott Aitken, Steve Brotherstone, Richard Brown and Graham Shiel (all Earlston High School), Max Adam and Kris Boon (both Strathallan), Andy Nicol and Geordie McGill (Dundee High School), Bruce Thomson and Scott Nicol (both Selkirk High School), Rory Dickson and Douglas Archibald (both Berwickshire High School) and Ritchie Gray (Galashiels Academy)

*Gary Sisman sadly passed away in an aviation accident in 1992. He was a talented outside half and a fantastic tourist