Parent Max loved didi rugby so much she is now coaching classes

A didi rugby mother Max and her young son Nathan smile at the camera in their garden

Five-year-old Nathan has joined the long line of children from didi rugby Reading to have come through the didi age groups and decided to continue his rugby journey at a local didi partner club.

 

Having loved his didi sessions for three years, Nathan will now move up to tag rugby at Reading RFC and will take all of the skills and confidence he has learned with him.

 

But while he was enjoying his time at didi classes, his mum Max was enjoying it too.

 

A didi rugby mother Max and her young son Nathan smile at the camera in their garden
Max and Nathan with big didi smiles

 

So much so that when she was asked to stand in and help for one particular session, she decided to become a member of the didi rugby Reading coaching team soon after.

 

“Nathan and I have loved our time with didi rugby,” Max said.

 

“And that started from his very first trial session at Blue Coat School in Reading, when coach Clare was running the class.

Attention to detail

 

“They were giving stickers out to say well done to the kids at the end and Clare said it was also someone’s birthday…Nathan’s. I had not even mentioned it to her and that just showed how great their attention to detail was. I was sold at that moment and knew didi was for us.

 

“Nathan has loved it and worked his way through the age groups. He loves all of the coaches and you can tell Craig loves his job too because it comes out in his coaching.”

 

Max added: “Nathan is five now and has been coming to didi for three years. Not only does he love the fun side of things but he has learnt so many new skills, as well as the colours and numbers educational side of things too.

Sense of achievement

 

“I have recently decided to take a career break and when I was asked to help out at a didi session and really enjoyed it, I agreed to do a few more when Craig asked me to.

 

“I am still doing that and I love it. There’s a real sense of achievement for me. Kids come into a new session shy and holding a parent’s hand. Then to play a part in them enjoying themselves, running up to you as a coach and giving you a high-five is great to see. To see their growth in confidence is astonishing!”

 

Max will be coaching throughout the summer and will then help out when needed as the autumn term arrives.

 

Read more: Ryan is relishing life after didi rugby Reading graduation

Read more: Nephew Kit is carrying on aunt’s family legacy

WATCH: Why didi rugby has enjoyed years of success…

 

Keri Holdsworth’s family legacy is strong as nephew Kit starts didi rugby

Kit Chadwick smiles holding onto a rugby ball

didi rugby never sets out to make a young child into an international superstar.

But young Kit Chadwick might just be one to keep an eye on.

Kit Chadwick goes to didi rugby at Clitheroe RFC
Kit Chadwick goes to didi rugby at Clitheroe RFC

The two-and-a-half year old has just started classes at didi rugby at Clitheroe RFC and loves running around and having fun with his new mates.

A love of the game is in his blood.

Not only are his uncles rugby mad but his aunt Keri Holdsworth was too until a car crash in 2014 ended her life far too early.

Keri’s legacy remains strong though.

Keri Holdsworth

When she passed away, Keri had made 15 appearances for Scotland as a back-row forward between 2008-10 and was a much-loved member of the Watsonian FC club.

Her passion for physiotherapy saw her progress that love on the rugby field too and she soon became part of the medical set-up with Scotland’s age grade rugby teams.

So much was her contribution to the game in fact that she was inducted into the Scottish Rugby’s Hall of Fame as one of five women to be awarded the honour.

Former Scotland Rugby player Keri Holdsworth in a Scotland kit
Former Scotland Rugby player – and Kit Chadwick’s auntie – Keri Holdsworth

The Scottish Rugby website says of Kit’s Aunt Keri: ‘As a graduate of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, she progressed her career as a physiotherapist in NHS Fife but also gave back so much to the sport of rugby, whether at club level with Watsonians RFC, the FASIC Sports Medicine Centre at Edinburgh University or with Scotland age-grade teams and international players.

‘She was also a physiotherapist volunteer at the 2012 Olympics in London and was immensely supportive of young players developing in rugby, bringing her skills and enthusiasm for the game to girls’ festivals and tournaments.’

didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

Keri is much missed by her family but sister, and Kit’s mum Fiona, is enjoying seeing the latest family member run around with a ball in his hands.

“Keri was was completely dedicated to rugby and she absolutely loved the sport,” said Fiona. “Her ultimate goal was to join the medics team at Scottish Rugby. She was very focused and driven. She loved everything about it.

“We live in Clitheroe and grew up in Alnwick, where there is a real rugby tradition. Keri and both of our brothers, James and Tom, were rugby players on the back of that.

“We were at Clitheroe RFC watching Six Nations games recently and we started to get Kit into it. We are big Scotland supporters.

Try time

“I asked the club if there were any classes for young kids and they pointed towards the didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley sessions that John and James O’Ryan ran. Kit went for his first session a few weeks ago and loves it.

“He has a little ball at home and is shouts ‘try time’ when he plays. At this age, it’s just nice to get them playing and having fun.

“Kit was only five months old when lockdown so it has been great to see him playing with other kids and learning how to take turns and engage with others.

“Everyone at didi has been very welcoming and the first few weeks have seen amazing weather as well so running around in the fresh air is great for him.”

Read more: Ryan is relishing life after didi rugby Reading graduation

Read more: didi rugby coach Charlotte’s game is flying high

WATCH: didi rugby Tag festival brings fun to the festival…

 

Ryan is relishing life after didi rugby Reading graduation

A boy in a green shirt is flanked by rugby coaches. Everyone is smiling

Lisa Radford’s son Ryan was ‘always a bit of a bruiser’ and was up on his feet walking around at just nine months!

 

So, it was no surprise that the family chose rugby as a way for Ryan to use up some of his energy.

 

A boy in a red tee-shirt smiles as he picks up a rugby ball and teddy bear
Ryan laughs with a didi rugby teddy and ball.

As soon as he was old enough to do so, Ryan joined didi rugby Reading classes at Blue Coat School aged 18 months.

 

It was the beginning of wonderful three-and-a-half years under the watchful eye of didi Reading coaches like Craig Hunter, who have just waved bye to one of their star pupils as he moves up to play tag rugby for local club Abbey RFC.

 

Fun and activity

“Ryan just loved didi rugby from his first visit and was running around loving all the fun and activity,” explained Lisa.

 

“He loved the things like having his ‘listening ears’ on and it was great development for his balance too. On the rare occasion that he was not in the mood for it, the coaches are so good with them and coax them, at their own pace, into getting involved. He has loved it ever since.

 

 

“He started developing a pride in what he did and would tell people that he played rugby.

 

“Coach Craig said that when he turned five, he could move up to a club and that has just happened with us joining Abbey RFC. It won’t be easy to leave didi behind because we have loved all of the games and the coaches too.

 

didi Reading

“He had his first go at Abbey a few weeks ago and we noticed that step up with a bit less guidance for the children but when he got going, he was so proud of himself. Now, he’s raring to go.

 

“It has been a relatively easy transition and his confidence has grown after years of great encouragement at didi classes.

 

“I will always have a good word to say about didi rugby and the people behind it. They have been fantastic and Craig even phoned us to say thank-you and wish Ryan good luck. That’s a lovely touch.”

 

Read more: didi rugby is a family tradition for the Dearing family

Read more: didi rugby Nottingham coach Charlotte is flying high

A boy in a green shirt is flanked by rugby coaches. Everyone is smiling
Ryan with didi rugby Reading co-owner Donna Clark and fellow didi coaches

didi rugby is a family tradition for the Dearing family

Two boys, Jacob and Harrison Dearing, in a green and white top and a red top smile with a rugby ball

Harrison Dearing is carrying on the family tradition and is thriving at didi rugby classes.

The three-year-old is having great fun taking part in didi rugby Reading sessions at Highwood Primary School, following in the footsteps of his older brother.

Jacob Dearing (6) spent over two years in didi classes having got involved as a three-year-old himself.

Now, he has taken the skills and confidence he learned at didi and is putting it to good use in the minis structure at partner club Reading RFC.

A young boy in a green hoodie holds a 'player of the week' certificate aloft
Jacob Dearing

Whether Harrison will follow him when he becomes too old for didi classes remains to be seen. But for now, mum Karen is just happy they have both benefitted from what the didi classes offer.

“Jacob always loved running around when he was little and so we tried him at didi rugby after seeing it for the first time at a local fete.

Confidence blossomed

“His confidence quickly blossomed during classes at Blue Coat School, and the classes helped him to focus his energy too. The coaches’ approach was great.

“Jacob never really liked the warm-ups and would just watch for 5 or 10 minutes before joining in. But the coaches always coaxed him to get involved, with no pressure and, after a while, he just got stuck in straightaway.

“Now, Jacob has moved up, it has been great to see him playing at Reading RFC and he’s loving it. There have been lots of his didi class move up to Reading so he’s already got friends moving up with him.

“The other week he came to watch Harrison at didi and still joined in!

Family time for the Dearings

“Taking them has been something nice to do as a family too. We would all go to watch Jacob when he first started and, inevitably, when we had his younger brother Harrison, he wanted to join in too.

“Harrison loved getting involved in the Zoom sessions that didi did during lockdown and now he’s loving the classes in person.

A you g boy in a red tee-shirt and sun hat smiles while holding a rugby ball
Harrison Dearing

“He was shy to begin with but he loves getting involved and games like ‘foxes tails’ and the ‘obstacle course’.

“Both boys have loved collecting the coloured objects and taking them to the correct bucket. Harrison will count how many he’s got before he puts them in, providing colour recognition and numeracy in one!

“The boys have both loved their classes and their coaches. They are a really nice group of people at didi and have been great with both boys.”

Two boys in rugby shirts smile with rugby balls in their hands
Jacob (left) and Harrison Dearing

Read more: didi rugby Nottingham coach Charlotte plays at Centre of Excellence

Read more: didi rugby and Leicester Tigers launch exciting new partnership

WATCH: didi rugby Reading coaches love their ‘hilarious classes’…

 

 

didi rugby Nottingham Charlotte is flying high

Players from various rugby teams sit together in the stand at Burton Rugby Club.

Young didi rugby Nottingham coach Charlotte Chaston has been putting her rugby skills up against some of the best young players in the country.

Charlotte, daughter of didi rugby Nottingham lead, Marie, played for Loughborough Lightning in the National Centre of Excellence festival at Burton.

Players from all sides at the Burton Centre of Excellence
Players from all sides at the Burton Centre of Excellence

She joined players from Wasps, Saracens, Bristol, Exeter, Worcester, Sale, Yorkshire, Hartpury, Harlequins and Northumberland in a memorable day of rugby which showcased some serious skills.

Climbing the ladder to success

From being a Nottingham Moderns RFC Junior player through to one of the founding players of their girl’s section, the South Notts Sapphires, Charlotte’s love and passion for the sport is continuously taking her further and further.

She has played rugby since the age of eight. She Started with the boys’ team and later helped mum Marie set up the girl’s section at her club, the South Notts Sapphires.

didi rugby Nottingham

“She is now keen to help with coaching some of the younger girls,” Marie said. “She loves working with the young children at didi rugby and it has really helped to grow her confidence.”

Charlotte Chaston
Charlotte Chaston in didi rugby kit

“I am so proud of her. She has worked so hard to get where she is. Maybe one day we will see her pulling on an England shirt instead of a didi rugby one!”

Charlotte has now just turned 16 and is playing for Loughborough Lightning Under-18s Centre of Excellence.

Launching in 2019, didi rugby Nottingham hosts classes for children aged 18 months to 6 years.

Find out more by visiting https://didisports.com/find-a-class.

READ MORE: https://didisports.com/didi-rugby-launch-exciting-partnership-leicester-tigers

WATCH:  What is didi rugby…?

 

didi rugby and Leicester Tigers launch exciting new partnership

Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen, didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen, Leicester Tigers Head of Community, Scott Clarke and the didi rugby and Leicester Tigers mascots
Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen, didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen, Leicester Tigers Head of Community, Scott Clarke and the didi rugby and Leicester Tigers mascots
(L to R) Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen, didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen, Leicester Tigers Head of Community, Scott Clarke and the didi rugby and Leicester Tigers mascots

didi rugby are delighted to announce a ground-breaking new partnership with the best-supported rugby club in the country, Leicester Tigers.

As well as being current Gallagher Premiership leaders, Tigers have won the English domestic league 10 times and the European Cup twice. Their Mattioli Woods Welford Road ground holds over 25,000 people, as well as some memorable moments from the club’s 142-year history.

Tigers also have a proud and deep-rooted tradition of support for the local rugby community and the partnership with didi rugby will provide a pathway for the very youngest didi stars, right through to Leicester Tigers senior rugby for girls and boys.

Partnership

The new partnership will also be able to explore opportunities around matchday and schools provisions together and didi rugby look forward to working with Tigers across the whole country to get more children involved in the game of rugby.

The exciting development will run alongside Tigers+, the club’s expansive new programme to encourage more children to play rugby, and we will include pilot schemes to help local clubs with under-7s age-groups as a key source of recruitment of both players and coaches.

Vicky Macqueen, founder of didi rugby and head of the new women’s rugby programme at Tigers, said: “We are thrilled to be able to announce this partnership with Leicester Tigers and I am excited to work alongside the club to inspire children and their families to become involved in the wider rugby family.

Leicester Tigers

“Leicester Tigers share didi’s values in increasing participation in rugby and physical activity, and we want to give opportunities to engage in rugby to as many children and families as possible.”

Tigers chief executive Andrea Pinchen added: “This is another great initiative for the club to be involved in. We are taking a lead in getting people playing rugby as well as watching it, and partnering with a great organisation like didi will help us do this with our Tiger Cubs right across the country.”

didi rugby provides classes for children aged between 18 months and 6 years of age. Sessions are taught under governing body, the Rugby Union’s Early Years Guidelines, which didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen helped to devise.

Read more: didi rugby’s high-flying Jaz Joyce is on the crest of a wave 

Watch: What is didi rugby?

Local interest ‘tremendous’ for imminent launch of didi rugby Devon

Crediton RFC logo shows a religious figure in yellow on a black background

The launch of didi rugby Devon is just days away and interest in the event has been ‘absolutely tremendous’ according to franchise partner Paul Tearle.

The launch takes place at Crediton RFC on Saturday 19 February with taster classes for all three didi age groups from 18 months up to 6 years of age.

Special guests on the day will be former England Women’s international, founder and CEO of didi rugby, Vicky Macqueen and local hero, Wayne Reed.

Vicky has an impressive CV and continues to develop it, having just taken on the role of Leicester Tigers women’s head coach.

Crediton RFC

Wayne has played rugby for Crediton RFC since he was a junior. In between then and now he has played for both Exeter and Plymouth whilst making numerous appearances for Devon.

Just as he thought his rugby career had peaked, a turn of events lead him to qualify to play for England deaf and he represented his country in a number of internationals.

Paul said: “We are privileged to have both guests at the event and the response we have had from the local community has been absolutely tremendous.

“We have had to extend some of our taster sessions and have now began taking bookings for our weekly sessions in March.

didi Devon

“The sport of rugby and the county of Devon have been synonymous with each other since the beginning of time.. and that has been proven once again with the numbers we have coming to our didi rugby launch.”

Paul says the didi Devon team are also grateful to host club Crediton RFC who, he says, have been incredibly supportive in the build-up to the launch.

Crediton RFC has seen a number of high-profile names come through the ranks including current Bath DoR, Stuart Hooper, Exeter Chiefs club captain, Jack Yeandle and the lesser known but hugely impressive Paul Harris. Paul has been recognised by England Rugby with their ‘President’s Value the Volunteer Outstanding Contribution Award’ for 50 years of service to the club.

“Crediton is proud of its ethos to the game and wants to include as many people as possible,” added Paul.

“As well as men’s and women’s teams, it supports hundreds of children from U9s through to U16s in both the boys’ and girls’ game under a club slogan of ‘One Big Club’.

Local venues

“And with that philosophy, they have welcomed didi rugby to allow more people to get involved in our wonderful game.

“I would like to thank Chairperson, Liz Goodman and committee member Jay Harris, for being particularly supportive in getting us up and running there.”

While Crediton RFC will be didi rugby Devon’s main hub, they will also be running satellite sessions across other local venues throughout the week.

The Waie Inn at Zeal Monochrum as well as Chumleigh Pavilions will run sessions on Wednesday mornings and afternoons respectively, with coach and PE teacher Dalton Dumont.

While on the other side of Crediton, Heathcoat Hall in Tiverton will be running on a Thursday with lead coach Andy Drayton.

The week culminates with a Saturday morning session of all three age groups run by lead coaches Andy Drayton and Steph Sansom.

For exact dates and times of all classes, contact dididevon@didirugby.com.

Find out more about didi rugby on our website.

Read more: High-flying Jaz is on the crest of a wave with didi rugby South Wales…and more.

WATCH: What is didi rugby…?

 

High-flying Jaz is on the crest of a wave

Jasmine Joyce, posing with thumbs up, wearing red didi rugby hoodie.

New didi rugby South Wales owner Jasmine Joyce is not only enjoying packed didi classes and happy children’s faces, her own playing career is also flying high too. 

The Welsh Rugby Union has awarded 12 of the national women’s team a 12-month contract for the first time in history. It was no surprise to anyone at didi HQ when Jaz was in that selected group. 

This contract will give Jaz and her 11 other team mates more time to dedicate to their playing careers.

Jasmine Joyce

Passing on her congratulations to her Welsh team mates on social media, Jaz said: “This is such an exciting year for women’s rugby in Wales.”

It has been a long journey to the top for didi rugby South Wales’ lead coach Jasmine, who began playing rugby at the age of seven and ignored those who thought she was “too small” for the sport.

At the age of 12, she started playing for Haverfordwest RFC and joined the ladies youth team. In 2015, she was selected to play for the Wales women’s national rugby sevens team for the Dubai Sevens tournament. 

Since then, she has gained 20 caps for Wales having made her debut in 2017 against Scotland. She has also played for Wales Sevens on numerous occasions and represented Team GB at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Jasmine was also ranked 3rd in the Guardian’s list of Players of the Year in 2021, described as ‘a trailblazer for women’s rugby, in every sense’. 

didi rugby South Wales takeover

Having taking over the leadership of didi rugby South Wales from fellow international Robyn Lock at the end of last year, Jaz now drives 16 classes a week in five different South Wales locations.

didi rugby South Wales classes are flying high!

To get your children involved in didi rugby classes, visit our ‘Find a class’ page.

Read more:  Exciting new start for didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley.

WATCH…

 

didi announce partnership with Working With Parents in Sport

A parent supports a child in the WWPIS logo

didi rugby are delighted to announce a new partnership with influential group ‘Working With Parents in Sport’ (WWPIS).

WWPIS supports organisations, parents and coaches in working together to provide children with the best possible sporting experiences.

 Based in the UK, they work with sporting organisations on a global basis and provide unbiased information that understands the difficulties that parents and coaches face in today’s world.

England Rugby

Their partners include: the Youth Sport Trust, England Rugby and UK Coaching among others.

didi rugby’s partnership with WWPIS sees both parties come together to provide the young children and parents, who support didi classes, the opportunity to purchase customised ‘Our Sporting Journey’ books.

A parent supports a child in the WWPIS logo

The books, which will be available soon, have been tailored for those specifically involved in the didi rugby programme and will encourage plenty of activity and interaction away from the classes, thus furthering their sporting education.

The ‘Our Sporting Journey’ series for didi minis (18 months to 3 years old), didi juniors (3 to 4 years old) and didi seniors (5 to 6 years old) incorporates two sporting years in each book with the cricket versions of the books likely due out later this year.

Our Sporting Journey

‘Our Sporting Journey’ is a series of interactive books for children, putting them at the heart of the sporting experience. They allow them to have plenty of fun, grow as people both on and off the field and immerse themselves in their sporting experience as they progress through their sporting journey.

​The books all have plenty of activities for children and encourage positive interaction between children and their parents. They involve plenty of parental involvement, whether that be in having positive conversations, playing in the garden or helping to stick in the pictures that will allow everyone to build up a memory book that will last a lifetime.

A book cover featureing two vcartoon children in didi rugby kits
Our Sporting Journey

didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen said it was a very exciting collaboration with WWPIS.

“We fully believe that our values and ethos as didi rugby are fully in-line with the wonderful work that WWPIS do.

Physically active

“We are all keen to get children and parents involved, at an early age, of realising the benefits that are to be gained from being physically active.

“This partnership will enable us to influence more families to get involved in physical activities from the age of our early didi classes (18 months) upwards.

“WWPIS have being doing some amazing work and, like us, are keen to promote healthy and active lifestyles, so we are delighted to be able to link up with them on this project.”

Gordon MacLelland, CEO of Working With Parents in Sport, said: ‘It is really exciting to be working with the didi team.

Involved in sport

“It is so important that children have the very best experiences of sport from the youngest ages, so they remain involved in sport and physical activity throughout their childhoods and into adulthood.

“Vicky and her didi rugby team are doing excellent work in this area and we hope the support that we can provide will further enhance their programmes.’

Read more:  didi rugby Devon launching in February 2022

Read more: didi rugby joins the fight against rhabdomyosarcoma cancer

WATCH: didi rugby ambassador Emily Scarratt loves helping out at didi classes…

 

didi rugby joins fight against rhabdomyosarcoma cancer

Jessica (right) with didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen

didi rugby are delighted to announce that children’s cancer charity Jessica’s Arc will be our official chosen charity.

Jessica’s Arc is one of the ‘arcs’ within Alice’s Arc, a charity launched to raise funds for funding research and finding a cure and less harsh treatments for rhabdomyosarcoma – a cancerous tumour that develops in the body’s soft tissues and mostly effects children and adolescents.

It is a battle that is very close to CEO Vicky Macqueen’s heart after her niece Jessica Macqueen died aged nine after a very short fight with the disease, just five months from diagnosis to passing away.

Vicky said: “The heartbreaking devastation of the loss of a nine-year-old to rhabdomyosarcoma has been hideous for the whole family and community.

Cancer

“For us to find out more about the cancer is now crucial to protect other families. It’s so underfunded at the minute and Jess didn’t really stand a chance with the lack of large scale investment in treatment for this rare disease.

“We are 100 per cent behind it and anything we can do to prevent this kind of heartache for future families to go through.

“That’s really important to me as one of Jess’ family members and also as CEO of a children’s activities company too.

“And it is super important to my brother and sister-in-law who lost their daughter.

rhabdomyosarcoma

“So didi rugby is officially taking on Jessica’s Arc as our chosen charity and we want to make a big impact on cancer research in this area.

“We will be delighted if anyone that can contribute to our cause.”

didi rugby will be hosting a series of fund-raising events in 2022 with a very exciting competition to follow later this month.

Jessica’s Arc will be sending any funds in its early stages, to Alice’s Arc.

  • Childhood cancer is the number 1 killer of children under the age of 14.
  • Over 4 new drugs have been approved in the last 20 years to treat childhood cancer.
  • 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer across the globe, every year.

Find out more about Alice’s Arc charity

Read more: didi rugby Devon ready to launch in February