Scottish rugby star Kenny Logan has set off on a 700-mile endurance challenge from Edinburgh to Paris along with a team of celebrities.
The adventure is in honour of the charity set up in the name of the late Doddie Weir.
The 20-strong team began their journey on Sunday and are aiming to deliver the match ball for the Scotland v Ireland Pool B Rugby World Cup qualification decider on Saturday October 7.
Among the stars taking part are former Rangers manager and footballer Ally McCoist and actor Jamie Bamber, while television presenter Kirsty Gallacher and actor James Nesbitt will join at a later stage.
Over £280,000 has already been raised towards a target of £555,555 for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which funds research into motor neurone disease (MND).
The foundation was launched in 2017 by Weir who died last November aged 52 after living with MND for six years.
Sporting stars including Paula Radcliffe, Peter Crouch, and Denise Lewis are among those who have sent messages of support to those taking part.
Logan, a friend of Weir, decided to take on the challenge during recovery from prostate cancer last year.
Logan kept his diagnosis from Weir as he ‘felt guilty’ at having treatment options unavailable to the former Melrose and Newcastle Falcons second row.
The Stirling-born dad-of-two said the approach Weir and fellow Scotland teammate Tom Smith – who died last year from cancer – took to their illnesses helped him during his own health battle, adding they’ll be front and centre of his thoughts when he takes on the challenge.
He said it would be a “brutal challenge” but that the support they had received ahead of the event was “a massive motivator”.
Logan said: “It’s hard to put into words what Doddie meant to me, my family, and the rugby and MND communities around the world.
“He was the most loving, kind and courageous person I knew, all of which drove him to fight his MND so hard for so long and be a champion for others living with the disease, raising millions of pounds along the way.
“Training has involved a gruelling schedule – with several challenges along the way – but we’re here and confident we can do it for Doddie.
“Currently, people with MND don’t have adequate treatment options – and that’s why we’re doing this for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, so that one day, everyone in Doddie’s position will have a better chance.
“Let’s all come together to finish what Doddie started and find a cure for MND.”
Starting in Edinburgh, the walk and cycle will see the team travel around 100 miles a day from Newcastle to York and on to Belvoir Castle in Grantham, then to Marlow and Brighton.
They will then take the ferry to Mont Vernon and onward to the grand finale in Paris ahead of the Scotland v Ireland match on October 7.
The challenge takes place ahead of Doddie Aid 2024, a My Name’5 Doddie Foundation national fundraising event where participants rally to raise as much money as possible for MND research.
North-east man Duncan Barton, a keen cyclist and rugby enthusiast, is also taking part.
Duncan and his partner, architect Annie Kenyon, joint directors of Annie Kenyon Developments, have raised thousands of pounds for the foundation since it was set up in 2017, following Weir’s MND diagnosis.
As a result, the couple were approached by Kenny Logan who asked them to get involved with the challenge.
Duncan, the only participant from the North-east, was invited to take part while Annie took on the role of his designated fundraising manager.
“This is a charity which is very close to our hearts,” he said. “Annie’s mum Margaret died from MND in 2021, and we are committed to helping to make a difference and to doing whatever we can to support efforts to raise enough funds to find a cure for this awful, incurable disease.
“My personal fundraising goal was £15,000 and thanks to fantastic support from the local community, that goal has already been exceeded with the total now sitting at more than £17,500 so we have upped the goal to £20,000.”
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