More than 700 guests filled the magnificent National Museum of Scotland on Friday night to honour Stewart's Melville College "old boy" Doddie Weir OBE. Organised by Erskine Stewart's Melville schools. the dinner raised funds for My Name'5 Doddie Foundation and Access to Excellence, the charity which supports 150 bursaries to the schools.
Compered by Doddie’s former class-mate, and now BBC News Presenter David Henderson, the evening featured a live auction and one of the highlights of the evening was a surprise performance of The Proclaimers' '500 miles’, the lyrics completely rewritten as a tribute to Doddie, by soloists, over 100 members of the ESMS senior choirs and most of the audience. A framed copy of the words, inscribed with a personal message by Craig and Charlie from The Proclaimers, was presented to Doddie.
All 72 tables were sold out within an hour of being offerd and the organisers are confident that they will be in a position to share at least £90,000 between the two charities with the actual amount to be confirmed as soon as it is available.
Access to Excellence is the schools' charitable fund which provides means-tested support for children from Primary 7 to Sixth Form whose parents believe they would benefit from an ESMS education but who do not have the means to pay school fees.
Ther Foundation"s CEO Jill Douglas spoke movingly about the vital work of the Foundation but of course the undoubted star of the evening was the amazing Doddie Weir, respendent in his old school blazer, delivered an inspiring, humorous and emotional speech where he referenced the fact that he had tried to take the drive he had in rugby and apply this to his own personal battle with Motor Neurone Disease.
ESMS are particularly grateful for the financial commitment of our headline sponsors, Carbon Financial and Craneware, as well as the support of other sponsors including Cameron House, Trinity Factors and Gen!us Brewing and over 50 other individuals and organisations who generously helped through the donation of auction items.
Many thanks for East & West Event Photography for use of all images.