An inspirational young man from Paisley will set out on a 100-mile trek along the West Highland Way, three years after being told he might never walk again.
Connor Docherty, aged 19, damaged his vertebrae in 2008 playing for his school’s rugby team (St Aloysius’ College) and has since battled against the odds to get back on his feet through rehabilitation and hard work.
Now, after three years, Connor and his physiotherapist, Eilidh Dorrian of Cartha Queens Park, will take on the seven-day, cross-country hike through some of Scotland’s most dramatic landscapes, walking from Fort William to Milngavie to raise funds for the charity that helped him in his time of need, the Murrayfield Centenary Fund (MCF).
Rugby enthuasiast Connor said: “The recovery process has been the biggest challenge of my life. It has been such a long process; however without the Murrayfield Cenetenary Fund I would not be anywhere near the stage I am at now and probably wouldn’t have been able to continue my rehab after leaving the hospital. I am so thankful to the late Bill Hogg who was extremely supportive throughout this process.
“Now I am really looking forward to doing the West Highland Way, it is going to be really difficult because it is hard challenge for anyone doing it regardless of strength and fitness. I would like to encourage everyone to help us raise as much money as we possibly can for the Murrayfield Centenary Fund.”
So far Connor has raised a staggering £4800 for the fund set up in 1972 to help rugby players who have suffered severe injury while playing the game while another focus is to walk in memory of the late Bill Hogg, former SRU CEO and Secretary, who passed away in January this year. Bill was also administrator for the MCF and was a huge support to Connor.
Eilidh Dorrian said: “Bill’s overall support was massive. He was really instrumental in organising a lot of things for Connor. The things that he offered to Connor and I were massive and won’t be forgotten. Another rugby charity, The Wooden Spoon Society has also been a great help throughout Connor’s training. They turned his room into a gym and put a treadmill and weights in so he could train at home.”
Scottish Rugby President, Ian McLauchlan, said: “Connor has shown great determination to get to this stage and I salute him for his strength in character. He is a great role model to other youngsters who have suffered a severe injury through rugby. The West Highland Way will be a great challenge for the youngster, giving him that extra boost in confidence and I wish him and Eilidh the best of luck in their travels.”
Support can be donated on the website which has been set up for the challenge: www.justgiving.com/eilidh-dorrian