Youngsters walk 1,000 miles in support of Doddie AID

Some of the Kintyre youngsters who took part in the Doddie AID challenge. They are, top row, from left: Finlay Blair, James McLean and Harry Martin, and Grace McCoubrey. Bottom: Hannah McLellan, Kahlan Smiley, Kurt Smiley and Mia McConnachie.
Some of the Kintyre youngsters who took part in the Doddie AID challenge. They are, top row, from left: Finlay Blair, James McLean and Harry Martin, and Grace McCoubrey. Bottom: Hannah McLellan, Kahlan Smiley, Kurt Smiley and Mia McConnachie.

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A group of Kintyre schoolchildren have walked an incredible 1,000 miles in a month while raising money for former Scottish rugby union player Doddie Weir’s motor neurone disease (MND) charity.

Mia McConnachie, Finlay Blair, Hannah McLellan, Grace McCoubrey, Thomas Robertson, Jack and Archie Reid, Kurt and Kahlan Smiley, James McLean and Harry Martin – who range in age from four to 10 – donned their walking shoes to take part in the Doddie Active Inter-District (AID) challenge.

The mass-participation exercise event, which began on January 1 and ended with Scotland’s historic Calcutta Cup win over England at Twickenham last Saturday, pitted five teams – The South, Edinburgh, Glasgow, North and Midlands, and Scottish Exiles, the old Scottish inter-district rugby union championship teams – against each other in a bid to rack up the most miles.

The aim was to support Doddie, who launched the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation in 2017 in his quest to further research into more effective treatments for MND, from which he suffers.

Participants, who were given Doddie-branded snoods when they signed up, were asked to log any exercise they took – from walking and running to skiing, sailing and horse riding – with their miles going towards their district’s total. The Kintyre contingent completed 1,047 miles in total.

The youngsters – who are pupils of either Dalintober Primary School or Glenbarr Primary School – had already been enjoying the great outdoors during daily walks with their parents and realised they could make their miles count for the North and Midlands team, which finished in first place with a total of 665,589.2 miles completed.

The South came in second with 494,738.3 miles, followed by Edinburgh with 369,484.9 miles, Scottish Exiles with 318,396.4 miles and Glasgow with 285,050.3 miles.

The children’s parents said: ‘We are all very proud of them. They are made of good stuff getting all those miles in while exploring our area in lockdown. They even roped Caroline Armour, head teacher of both Dalintober and Glenbarr primaries, into taking part in the challenge.’

The children’s parents set up a JustGiving page so people could sponsor them, with all proceeds being donated to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. When the Courier went to print, the total raised was £720, but the page will remain open for donations until the end of February.

Their fund was boosted thanks to Alan Preston from Catani hardware store in Glasgow, who donated some sledges for Finlay to sell, with all money made being added to their JustGiving total.

‘They did great with their fundraising,’ their parents added. ‘We were happy to support them.’

To make a donation to the children’s fundraising page, search for ‘Wee Toon mini trekkers’ on www.justgiving.com