Devon Rugby Referees' Society's Hinshelwood is planning cross-border walk for MND

31 Jan 2021 21:45 | Devon RFU

DEVON Rugby Referees’ Society treasurer David Hinshelwood is planning a marathon hike from England to Scotland to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

The 69-year-old former rugby referee and player from Cullompton, wants to raise money for My Name’5 Doddie, a charity set-up to improve the lives of people suffering from motor neurone disease (MND).

The charity was a project started by former Scotland rugby player Doddie Wier, who revealed in June 2017 he had been diagnosed with MND. My Name’5 Doddie was up and running as a charitable foundation within two months.

Research into motor neurone disease is something Hinshelwood feels strongly about as his mother, Dorothy, died of the illness in 1994.

“My mother died from motor neurone disease after a debilitating battle which dominated the last several years of her life,” said Hinshelwood, a former management consultant. “This walk is to celebrate mum’s memory and to support families who are going through the same ordeal.”

Hinshelwood’s way of raising money for My Name’5 Doddie is to undertake a sponsored walk along the Pennine Way from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.

“With a fair wind behind me I should be able to cover the 270 miles on foot in about three weeks,” he said.

Friends and family members will be joining Hinshelwood at various points during the walk, which he hopes to start on May 5.

“Hopefully, the Covid regulations will have eased by then, otherwise I might have to postpone the walk for a few months,” he said.

Hinshelwood is no stranger to long-distance walking as he has previously tramped the Offa’s Dyke Path straddling the border between England and Wales on behalf of the MND Association. He raised around £500 in sponsorship.

Hinshelwood is already training for his latest walk by building up the miles through a series of 10-mile hikes.

“The next stage is to walk the South Downs Coastal Trail in Sussex,” said Hinshelwood. “While I am doing that Mo, my wife, will be spending time with her sister, who lives in that part of the world.

Hinshelwood said there were a number of reasons why he felt compelled to embark on another sponsored walk for the same cause.

“Doddie Wier has been an inspiration to me for some time. We share a Scottish heritage and rugby involvement which has kept me very aware of his work as his own MND symptoms have developed,” he said.

“Doddie’s determined campaigning to raise awareness and support for MND is something very special indeed. He has fearlessly faced down his own MND diagnosis whilst simultaneously raising awareness of the disease and supporting fellow sufferers.

“Rugby has been part of my life for more than 50 years, and I feel that it’s the right time to play my part in supporting the work of Doddie and the My Name’5 Doddie foundation.”

Hinshelwood added that recent publicity surrounding sporting head injuries and the possible effects on players’ health in their later lives was another reason he was raising money into MND research.

To make a donation to Hinshelwood’s charity fund-raising trek, visit