Penalty record holder sells boots to benefit Doddie Weir charity
Paul Thorburn, whose incredible long-range penalty against Scotland during the 1986 Five Nations has yet to be surpassed, has donated his boots to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
The charity was set up by Doddie Weir, the former Scotland and British Lions forward who suffers from motor neurone disease, with the money raised from the auction set to help fund new research.
Thorburn, who stunned the world of rugby when he successfully put a penalty between Scotland’s posts despite being more than 70 yards (64.2m) from goal, said he wanted to put his boots to good use.
“When I found out Doddie was ill, I thought, well I’ve still got those boots,” the 55-year-old former full back and Wales captain told the BBC.
“They are nice to hang on to, but there are causes in need of support and money. I could keep looking at them for a long time but I have the memories.
“It’s far better that I give them away and people try to raise a lot of money.
“The most important thing is raising money and the profile of this disease to keep research going and help those suffering with it, like Doddie.”
The announcement was made ahead of today’s autumn international between Wales and Scotland at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, with the teams playing for the Doddie Weir Cup.
The online auction is set to take place around the time of next year’s Six Nations Championship, more than 30 years after Thorburn’s remarkable kick.
Described as “the kick of the age”, the penalty amazed the crowd inside Cardiff Arms Park and millions of people watching on television, as most expected him to aim for touch instead.
Thorburn’s attempt at goal also led to a memorable reaction from the celebrated rugby commentator Bill McLaren, who exclaimed: “What a belt he’s given it!” as it left the player’s boot.
As the ball fell just over the Scottish crossbar, he added: “That is amazing. I’ve seen all the great goal kickers in the world over the last decade, but I’ve never seen a kick like this one.”
Speaking afterwards, Thorburn said he had been relaxed about the kick because there was “no expectation” that he would actually score.
“I had told [Wales captain] David Pickering that I would have a go and knew that if I missed, it would still leave play in the Scottish half,” he said.
Weir said yesterday: “The generosity and support of people like Paul is truly amazing and that’s how the foundation has been able to pledge £1 million towards care and research into a cure for this horrific disease.”