Doddie Weir has spoken about the unforeseen benefits of living in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. The 49-year-old, who won 61 caps for Scotland and toured South Africa with the 1997 series-winning Lions, was diagnosed with MND in 2017 and has since raised awareness and huge sums of money for research through his foundation, My Name’5 Doddie.

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He has now released the fourth episode of the Dodcast, his Jill Douglas-hosted podcast where he talks about living with motor neurone disease.

“Isolation has not been that tricky at this time of year because we are very busy with the lambing,” reported Weir from Bluecairn, his 300-acre farm on the edge of the village of Blainslie which has views looking south to Melrose and Galashiels.

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“It has helped a little this year as wife Kathy had to do nights as well last year with twice as many sheep, but this year, with the boys all staying at home, one does the 12 o’clock shift, another three o’clock and Kathy gets up at six. Tempers are no quite so frayed.

“I’m out, believe it or not, driving my tractor that I enjoy for two or three hours a day to rake the grass for the new grass to come through. It’s quite a busy time of the year and the isolation has made it more of a family effort than normal.”

Away from farming matters, ex-Scotland second row also used his podcast to make an appeal to Matt Hancock, the British government minister, about the status of his illness. 

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“Would it be possible for you and your team to work with the MND Association and MND Scotland to change this? People with MND have a hard life in itself, never mind trying to fight the coronavirus.”

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