The Bear tackles a weighty challenge

Rugby hero Iain Milne won 44 Scotland caps. Picture: Julie Bull

Rugby hero Iain Milne won 44 Scotland caps. Picture: Julie Bull

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SCOTLAND’S legendary former prop and Grand Slam winner, Iain Milne, is set to lose a staggering 100lb to raise monies for charity.

In a feat he describes as “the biggest and most crucial challenge of my life”, Iain, better known to fans as The Bear, says he is addressing his weight issue that started with the onset of depression seven years ago.

He said: “During my rugby career, my weight hovered around 18 stones. Once I’d retired from rugby, I remained fit, putting on only a couple of stones. But a back injury in 2000 saw my weight balloon to around 25 stones as a result.

“Over the last seven years, however, my real weight issues have surfaced as a result of depression. Eating and drinking became my drugs of choices when the depression hit. It was my ‘go to’ when I was down, a form of self-medication that actually made the depression worse, not better, because it led to me piling on even more weight.

“Prior to Christmas, I decided that 2017 was going to be the year I would tackle this once and for all. I have made all sorts of efforts to get fit and alter my lifestyle before. But nothing worked or if it did, it was very short-term.

“By making a public declaration and committing funds to two charities I respect – The Prince’s Trust and The Bill McLaren Foundation – I feel I am in a place where I can take on this challenge and succeed. I will be backed up by a dedicated support team to help with nutrition, exercise and my mental health.

“As both my chosen charities focus on supporting achievement, my heartfelt aim is to help them by delivering a significant achievement of my own.”

Iain plans to shed the pounds between now and early September when his weight loss total will be revealed at annual event known as Lunch with an Old Bag, which last year raised more than £750,000 for The Prince’s Trust Scotland. A total of 80 per cent of the money Iain raises will go there and 20 per cent to The Bill McLaren Foundation.

His support team comprises of Nikos Jakubiak, a dietitian and performance nutritionist who will help Iain understand how to adjust food choices to meet his target and Mike Webb, general manager of The Gym Edinburgh who will look after his physical training.

Educated at George Heriot’s School, Iain played prop and was part of the Grand Slam-winning side in 1984.

His rugby career ran from 1979 to 1990, involving 44 Scotland caps and a Grand Slam win in 1984. He played once with his two brothers, Kenny and David, in a Barbarians game and the brothers were known as “The Three Bears”.

He made his Scotland debut March 3 1979 against Ireland. His 42nd, and last, cap was won alongside his brother, Kenny who was representing his country for the first time as hooker.

In 2012, Iain took up the position of Vice President at Heriot’s Rugby Club.