Scottish rugby legend and MND campaigner Doddie Weir was in Dundee on Tuesday to meet and sign a sculpture designed in his honour.
Oor Doddie, situated at the Olympia Leisure Centre, was designed by Graham Farquhar as a tribute to the great player and in recognition of the famously positive attitude Doddie shows as he campaigns and raises funds for research into a cure for MND.
The sculpture will be at Olympia all summer as part of Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail, which is raising money for The Archie Foundation in Tayside as well as two of Scotland’s other children’s charities; Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
Doddie said: “I was thrilled to find out about Oor Doddie and he looks fantastic. He does look quite a bit like me and his tartan bucket is spot on.
“I’m delighted my sculpture will be auctioned off to help sick children in hospital. It’s humbling that my story, my fight to find a cure for MND through the work of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, has inspired Graham (the artist) to create this fantastic sculpture.
“Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail looks like a lot of fun and I hope people can get out there and find them all across the five cities. And, of course, get down for a selfie with Oor Doddie.”
Created by an art teacher at local specialist school Kingspark, Graham Farquhar was inspired by Doddie’s positive outlook on life.
He said it was an honour to meet his “hero”.
“I’m a great rugby fan but also I wanted to pay tribute to Doddie, knowing about him being a fantastic player in his time but also his foundation.
“I felt it was important to also bring that in to play and knowing about his challenges but also about the way he’s taking them on in a cheerful spirit.
“This is similar to the children I work with in my school. They’ve got challenges but it’s the happiness that you bring into their lives that makes them keep going and I wanted to put that in a tribute to what Doddie does and what I see happening in my own school.
“Happiness and laughter, as Doddie says himself, is the best medicine and that’s what I wanted to show.”
Oor Doddie is proudly sponsored by Thorntons Law LLP. The legal firm’s Managing Partner Craig Nicol said: “We’ve always been a fan of the sculpture trail campaigns as they add such colour to the streets and a buzz within the community – and the Oor Wullie’s BIG Bucket Trail is certainly no exception.
“The designs are fantastic but we’re delighted to show our support for The ARCHIE Foundation and sponsor one of the firm’s favourite designs this year – Oor Doddie.
“Designed and painted by artist Graham Farquhar, Oor Doddie not only recognises Doddie Weir’s achievements in rugby but also his positive attitude towards his struggles with motor neurone disease.
“We’re sure the bucket trail will be a great success for all charity partners and we’re proud to put our name against a statue for 2019.”
ARCHIE’S Tayside Fundraising Manager Sarah Johnston said: “We’d like to thank Doddie for taking the time to come and visit his own sculpture here in Dundee.
“Oor Doddie is proving incredibly popular on the trail already – hopefully with Doddie’s signature, the sculpture will also tempt buyers in our Tayside auction and raise lots of money for The ARCHIE Foundation.”
Across Scotland, 200 Oor Wullie sculptures have been placed on the streets of Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of the country’s first nationwide public arts trail.
The Oor Wullies will be on the streets until August 30 before the Tayside and Fife sculptures appear together at a farewell gathering in Slessor Gardens, from Friday September 13 to Sunday September 15.
They will then be auctioned off the following day at Dundee Rep on Monday September 16 to raise money for The ARCHIE Foundation, which is the official charity of the Tayside Children’s Hospital at Ninewells.