A FORMER Scotland rugby captain has said his late friend Doddie Weir would have been “immensely proud” as his charity’s fundraiser smashed the £5 million barrier.

Rob Wainwright founded Doddie Aid in 2021 to help raise funds for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, the charity his former teammate Weir set up following his motor neurone disease (MND) diagnosis in 2016.

Wainwright led an All Roads Lead to Rome cycle from Scotland to the Italian capital with more than 10,000 rugby fans, which ended at the Stadio Olimpico for the Italy vs Scotland Six Nations clash.

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Wainwright, who won 37 caps for Scotland and is a prominent campaigner for MND, said: “When we founded Doddie Aid, we wanted to create a fun community event that allowed everyone to give a little bit to Doddie's cause.

“And it seems that a lot of little bits eventually makes a lot! So a huge thank you to all who have supported Doddie Aid.

“Doddie meant so much to so many people – inside rugby and out – and by launching the foundation to find solutions to MND he offers hope to everybody living with this devastating disease.

“Doddie would be immensely proud. To reach £5m – of course symbolic as Doddie’s famous number – is a massive milestone in our mission to end MND, but there’s a long way to go.

“Milestones aren’t why we started, but they’re a big motivation as we relentlessly pursue the finish – a world free of MND.

“Thanks to everybody who’s backed us, and let’s keep going for Doddie, and for all living with or affected by MND.”

The All Roads Lead to Rome cycle helped to raise £700,000.

The fundraiser by Wainwright was also attended by Doddie Weir’s widow Kathy and son Ben.

Doddie Aid 2024 has raised £1.4m in total and was launched by rugby legend Kenny Logan and Nicola McFarlane, who has MND.

It is also backed by some big-named celebrities like Chris Hoy, Lewis Capaldi, Lorraine Kelly, and Ewan McGregor.

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation recently announced they were committed to investing £6m in research projects aiming to find cures and treatment for MND.

Jessica Lee, director of research, said: “When Doddie established the foundation, he wanted to make a step change and fund the smartest, most efficient research to speed up the development of new treatments.

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“Research takes a long time, but by investing in innovative projects and new funding models, we are striving to make faster progress and bring effective treatment options to people living with MND as quickly as possible.”

Paul Thompson, director of fundraising, also said: “Doddie was instrumental in putting MND centre stage. Our incredible supporters and fundraisers are making sure it stays there.

“Their generosity, commitment, and determination knows no bounds, and the £5m raised through Doddie Aid has played a crucial part in our ongoing efforts.

“We are further down the road than we’ve ever been, but there is still a long way to travel. With every pound we invest in research, we move a little closer to that destination.”