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.”

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Exciting new start for didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

Wearing didi rugby tops, Vicky Macqueen and James O'Ryan smiling towards the camera.

The new team at didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley are getting classes across their area into full swing this term.

Following a successful launch back in December 2021, sessions are now running at Clitheroe RFC and Mellor Village Hall and Field, Blackburn (see below for booking details).

New classes will also begin at Pleckgate High School Dance Studio in Blackburn from Saturday 12 February (see below for booking link).

Sessions are for children aged 18 months to 6 years of age.

Wearing didi rugby tops, Vicky Macqueen and James O'Ryan smiling towards the camera.
James O’Ryan (left) and Vicky Macqueen at the launch of didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley.

The classes are run by the rugby fanatic O’Ryan family: John, James and Sam.

They are all determined to spread their love and passion for the sport, encouraging young children to get involved, get active, build confidence and most importantly, have fun. 

didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

“It’s been really exciting. We’ve had so much fun building and planning for it.” James said. 

“It has been weeks in the planning process and we’re so happy classes are now up and running!” 

John has twice received commendations from the Rugby Union for his services to community rugby for mini and youth engagement and for engagement and for promotion of girl’s rugby opportunities. 

“I’ve been coaching for about 15 years in all different age groups” he said.

Clitheroe RFC

 “I’ve been embedded in the Blackburn and Clitheroe area, helping out at all the schools and different coaching facilities we have here.” 

didi rugby CEO, Vicky Macqueen, attended the launch and said:  “I have been so impressed the level of planning that has gone into this. The amount of effort the guys have put into the launch is amazing.

“Now regular classes are up and running, I am certain John, James and Sam will do a great job of introducing our wonderful sport to youngsters in the area.”

To find out more about attending classes, visit our ‘find a class’ page to book your free taster session at any of our venues.

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Excitement grows for didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley launch party

A poster for the launch day of didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

There will be plenty of fun and excitement to be had when didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley throws its opening launch party on Saturday 4 December.

Clitheroe Rugby Club will be the venue for a morning of activities running from 9am to 11am. The sessions will be held outdoors if weather permits or indoors in the clubhouse.

Our didi coaches will be there to welcome visitors and will also be available after each session to answer any questions that parents may have.

didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

The classes will be run by the rugby-mad O’Ryan family and John, James and Sam are determined to spread their love for the game and didi rugby’s values throughout the area to as many children as possible when regular classes begin the following week.

John has twice received commendations from the Rugby Union (RFU) for his services to community rugby for mini and youth engagement and for promotion of girl’s rugby opportunities.

A poster for the launch day of didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley

“We have a superb blend of skills and knowledge, combined with a passion for sports, to encourage and promote all the fantastic positives that we know children can gain from taking part in sports,” he said.

“We aim to offer a supportive, caring and fun experience at all our venues, reflecting our family values, the values we know didi rugby share and the values we have enjoyed for over 30 years in our own rugby journey.

Clitheroe Rugby Club

“We want our didi rugby friends’ journey to be just as enjoyable, leading to a lifelong love of sport and all the benefits this brings; health, confidence, friends, skills and fun.”

Numbers are limited but there is still time to book your child’s free place at the event by calling John on 07905787160 or emailing,

A coach and child have fun at a didi rugby class
A coach and child have fun at a didi rugby class

Anyone attending is invited to dress their children in comfortable clothes they can run around in and it’s a good idea to bring a drink for them too.

James says he is really looking forward to providing children and parents with a fun introduction to didi rugby in Blackburn and the Ribble Valley.

“didi rugby is a sure and tested model for getting children active in a safe and positive setting with dedicated coaches,” he said.

RFU values

“Not only are children provided an environment to improve their physical skills like balance and coordination but social skills are also equally developed, like teamwork and leadership or even simply making a new friend.

“We feel this is an important stepping stone for young children to develop their confidence and enable them to share in the core values of rugby outlined by the RFU.”

didi rugby CEO Vicky Macqueen said: “The O’Ryan’s have a huge amount of passion for the sport and they are equally committed to spreading that passion and the values of didi rugby throughout the local community.

“We are delighted that a focal point of that local community in Clitheroe Rugby Club is hosting the event and we can’t wait to see some youngsters trying out didi rugby and having some fun while they do so.”

didi rugby is committed to making sure that Covid safety measures maintain in place across all of our classes, across the country.

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