The rugby community is pulling together to help two great Scots who have been diagnosed with serious illness.
Former Scotland captain, Rob Wainwright, will lead a charity cycle team, in support of his former teammates Doddie Weir and Tom Smith, when he cycles from Twickenham in London to Murrayfield in Edinburgh, in advance of next week’s Calcutta Cup clash in the Six Nations Championship.
Setting off on February 6, the Wounded Lions 500, which includes international rugby players and endurance cyclists, will pedal for 48 hours, arriving in time to deliver the match ball for kick-off at the Scotland v England match at 4.45 pm on February 8.
The participants are aiming to raise more than £100,000 for two charities close to the hearts of all involved – the first of which is the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, founded by former Scotland international and Lion, Doddie Weir, and which was set up in 2017 after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
The other charity is 40tude, which was was selected by Tom Smith, a former Scottish international stalwart and two-time Lions tourist who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
The organisation helps to fund pioneering research projects, targeted at the early diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer.
Mr Wainwright said: “I am hugely honoured to have played for Scotland and the Lions alongside Doddie and Tom.
“Both are top men and both have tragically hit hard times with their health recently.
“While we cannot heal them, we can point our bikes north for 48 hours and be inspired by their fortitude and courage in the face of huge adversity.
“They are two very different characters, but legends the twain. We aim to beat last year’s £65k fundraising total, and help improve both the treatment and the prognosis for MND and Colon Cancer.”
Other players joining the challenge include England’s John Hall and Ireland’s Paddy Johns, who will complete the full 500 miles.
Mr Wainwright has confirmed that Tom Smith will be involved in the first few miles of the initiative before undergoing chemotherapy for his condition.
John Barclay, Kelly Brown, Roger Arneil, Paul Wallace, Peter Winterbottom, Damian Cronin and Paul Burnell, the latter two of whom were involved in Scotland’s famous 1990 Grand Slam triumph, will all be taking part during various stages.
Donations can be made on the Wounded Lions 500 fundraising page at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WoundedLions500