DODDIE Weir has welcomed the Scottish Government's vow to look at giving people with motor neurone disease blue badges – as soon as they are diagnosed.

It comes after a joint campaign by the Borders rugby legend and local MSP Rachael Hamilton.

And he was at Holyrood on Thursday when minister Paul Wheelhouse announced the government would look at redrafting the rules for granting the disability parking badges – making it automatic in some cases. On average it takes around 12 weeks to process a blue badge application.

But feedback from MND Scotland’s advisors has highlighted that it can take months.

Following Mr Wheelhouse's announcement, Doddie said: “Motor neuron disease is unpredictable.

"It can be fiercely aggressive and a third of those who receive this terrible diagnosis die within a year, more than a half within two years of receiving this devastating news.

"I have been determined to maintain a level of independence and I want to be out and about, seeing my sons play rugby at weekends, helping with the work of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and living my life to the full. But as time goes on, like fellow sufferers of MND, this becomes more difficult. Not everyone has six months to wait for the blue badge system to kick in.

"Fortunately there are not too many of us in this exclusive club but I believe everyone who is diagnosed with motor neuron disease should automatically be entitled to a blue badge, this will enable families to live a dignified and as full a life as possible while coping with this terrible disease."

The news was also welcomed by Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP Mrs Hamilton.

She said: "This is a victory for common sense first and foremost; people living with MND should have automatic access to a blue badge so that they can maintain their independence and dignity.

“I must congratulate Doddie Weir on his remarkable achievements to date. The positivity and tenacity that Doddie has displayed throughout the years, in exceptionally difficult circumstances, is a formidable example to us all.

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to revise the code of practice, and I hope that we see the changes made in a timely manner so that no more people with MND have to go through the length and stressful process of obtaining a blue badge.”