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Ross Sutherland Rugby Club's charity fundraiser sets sights on £50,000


By Philip Murray

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The Drain family are getting some miles in every day as part of the fundraiser.
The Drain family are getting some miles in every day as part of the fundraiser.

A SPORTING great's determination to turn his Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis into a force for good helped inspire Ross Sutherland Rugby Club to run a charity fundraiser of their own.

Former Scotland rugby international Doddie Weir, who was diagnosed with the deadly disease back in 2017, set up the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation to help investigate the causes of the devastating illness, fund research towards a cure and pay out grants to others living with it.

And Ross Sutherland Rugby Club, in Invergordon, was inspired by the foundation's recent DobbieAid fundraiser to launch a charity event of its own which follows a similar format.

Participants in the club's March Into May fundraiser have been signing up and pledging to complete a set number of miles by walking, running, cycling or swimming while raising money. Participation is £25 and includes free social membership for the club for the 2021/22 season – featuring reduced hire of the new facilities and access to apply for international tickets.

The joint fundraiser, which started on March 28 and runs until May 1, will see all monies raised split 50/50 between the rugby club and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

Captains have been chosen for the fundraiser's five competing teams – representing the Black Isle and Inverness, Easter Ross, Wester Ross & Skye, Sutherland and Exiles.

Participant Lindsay Watt says his dog has never had as much exercise.
Participant Lindsay Watt says his dog has never had as much exercise.

Their ambition is to raise more than £50,000 between the two causes. They hope it will help boost the foundation's efforts to find a cure, while also aiding the club's work to complete its new clubhouse.

And, with the club boasting the largest catchment area of any rugby team in the UK, they are hoping to get support from people the length and breadth of the region.

"The challenge has been split into teams to create a little friendly local competition," said a club spokesman. "Team Sutherland has dozens of participants, who are racking up the miles – running, walking, cycling – as part of this challenge.

"For some, it’s motivation to fit some exercise into a busy day or to get the family involved. With wintry weather being a little off-putting in the last week or so, it’s helped provide the push to get out the door.

"For others, including Golspie’s Ian Harrison, whose weekly tally is a phenomenal distance, it’s part of training for future events."

Some of the team have also set up fundraising pages, and donations to any of the participants would be very welcome at www.justgiving.com/team/sutherland.

There is also still time to join in and get some miles registered for Team Sutherland. For more information visit https://admin19222.wixsite.com/rsrfcmarchintomay.

One of the snoods which participants are wearing during the challenge.
One of the snoods which participants are wearing during the challenge.

Work on the clubhouse has been severely delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently they are short of £50,000 to finish the build entirely. The new clubhouse includes a function room, new bar, club shop, four changing rooms and a full-length balcony overlooking the main pitch.

The new facilities will help the club deliver their development plan to expand its reach within the community, both through offering improved access to grass roots rugby and also promoting the clubhouse as a place for community use.

The March Into May campaign is not the only link the club have to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, having raised £7000 towards it at a fundraising dinner in 2018.

Related news: Ross Sutherland Rugby Club receives further £10,000 sponsorship support from Port of Cromarty Firth


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