didi rugby Bristol: A family outlet for the Gullys

The Gully family, Rochelle, Simon and Tyler all wearing red didi rugby kit.

didi rugby Bristol leads, Simon and Rochelle Gully are looking forward to providing an opportunity for young children that wasn’t available for their son at such a young age.

Simon has a professional rugby career behind him, so he is excited to begin his new journey with didi rugby.

Because of the immense love and passion he has for the sport, he sees didi rugby as an opportunity for him to spend his weekend doing something he loves, as opposed to it being “work.” Simon currently works as a carpenter five days a week, so can’t wait to have didi rugby as his “fun day” of the week.

Simon is also a rugby coach at one of didi Bristol’s venues, Kingswood RFC.

Two ladies in a red top and a man wearing a red top and blue cap smiling.
The Gully family

Before meeting Simon, Rochelle had no experience with the sport.

“Rugby has given our family an outlet to grow closer and to bond over a sport we all enjoy,” Rochelle says.

“We are all season ticket holders at Bristol Bears, and we go to watch all the games. This allowed us to all grow closer as a family. Having two teenagers, it’s nice to go and experience something we all know and love together.

“We have been discussing the possibility of running kids rugby classes for a few years now but the timing never quite worked.

“This year seemed like the perfect time to make that jump, especially with our daughter Tyler now being 16, she can get involved with coaching at the classes.”

Young age groups

Their son, Lucas, started his rugby journey at four years old. Simon and Rochelle struggled to find him a class so young that best suited and supported his age and ability.

“We really struggled to find him a class at that age as no club really provided for such young age groups,” Rochelle said.

“The coach at a class which was slightly too old for him said to bring him along, but he was too overwhelmed to continue.

“If didi rugby had been around at the time, we would have 100% taken him to classes there.

“Because of this experience we had, we want to provide this opportunity for and build confidence in children from a young age.”

didi rugby Bristol launch party

didi rugby Bristol will be launching with an exciting event on Friday 9 September; with didi mascots Dougie and Daisy making a special appearance!

The event will be kicking off at Clifton RFC from 9:00am-12:00 Noon. The action will then be moving over to Pomphrey Hill Pavilion from 1pm.

The Gully family are all looking forward to meeting the kids, the rest of the didi team and to experience a brand new venue.

WATCH: Leicester Tigers and didi rugby launch exciting new partnership.

“Our son, Oliver, is our biggest driving force.”

Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards wearing red didi rugby kit, holding their son, Oliver.

didi rugby Newcastle lead Hattie Elliott-Edwards is determined to give her son Oliver the opportunities she never had.

With an impressive rugby career behind her, she is keen to offer her son the chance to learn new skills and grow in confidence while doing something he loves at a young age.

Along with fellow lead Sophie Elliott-Edwards, Hattie is excited to get their new didi rugby classes in the north-east off the ground with some much-awaited classes day at Novocastrians RFC on Saturday 3 September.

It will be the launch pad for Oliver and a host of new members to begin a grounding that Hattie always wishes she has enjoyed.

“Our son, Oliver, is our biggest driving force,” she says.

“It’s about providing the opportunity for him and other children in Newcastle and the surrounding area to build confidence through rugby and play.”

“We both want to give Oliver and the other didi children the opportunities I had and the skills I developed throughout my rugby career, but were not available for me at his age.”

Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards wearing red didi rugby kit, holding their son, Oliver.
Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards, didi rugby Newcastle leads with their son, Oliver.

Hattie’s rugby background

With Hattie having a well-rounded rugby background, she is really looking forward to promoting the teamwork, leadership, social skills and self-belief that she has developed through the sport, to young children.

Fluctuating between the first and second team at Lichfield rugby club, she played in the same team as one of our didi ambassadors, Heather Fisher. “I was never one of the greatest,” Hattie said. “But it was a great opportunity to play alongside them.”

Sophie and Hattie both agree that they don’t just see the business side to building a didi franchise, “it’s about didi rugby’s ethos,” Hattie said. “Bringing enjoyment in sport to young people. There was nothing like this around when I was playing, so we’re excited to provide this for other young children.”

Novocastrians RFC partnership

With Newcastle being a very football-focused area, Sophie and Hattie are both excited to bring the sense of rugby community to the area.

didi rugby Newcastle will be partnering with Novocastrians RFC, with classes being held at the venue.

Having produced some of the best female rugby players, including didi ambassador Sarah Hunter, Novocastrians RFC are looking forward to welcoming didi rugby Newcastle to the family.

“The club are very proactive and family friendly,” Hattie said. “They have a very similar ethos to didi rugby and have built a lovely community with the rugby mums and dads who attend the club.

“Our longer-term goals are to spread further across Newcastle, but we’re looking forward to building a relationship with Novocastrians, promoting opportunity for young people.”

As the launch party of didi rugby Newcastle fast approaches, Sophie and Hattie are excited to bring fun and happiness to the children. “This is the start of an adventure,” Sophie said. “We want to celebrate the potential of what we’re doing.”

READ MORE: The rugby-mad family are launching didi rugby Bristol.

WATCH: Coach Jake shares his journey so far.

The rugby-mad Gully family are launching didi rugby Bristol

The Gully family, Rochelle, Simon and Tyler all wearing red didi rugby kit.

A refreshing new outlook on children’s rugby will be launching in Bristol next month.

A family of complete rugby fanatics, Simon, Rochelle and Tyler Gully, will be bringing didi rugby to the area!

didi rugby Bristol will be launching with an exciting launch event on Friday 9 September! All visitors will be eligible for a free taster session. The event will be kicking off at Clifton Rugby Club from 9:00am-12:00Noon. The action will then be moving over to Pomphrey Hill Pavilion from 1pm.

Rochelle and Simon Gully stood on a large rock at the beach.
Simon and Rochelle Gully – didi rugby Bristol leads.

The Gully family

All visitors will be guaranteed lots of fun delivered by a Gully family who cannot wait to bet started.

Rochelle was introduced to rugby by her husband, who she watched play the game for two decades.

“It was inevitable that the kids would love it too,” she says. “I spend most Sundays in wellies and a raincoat being a supportive rugby mum.

“I can honestly say that being part of the rugby community has given our family a physical and emotional outlet, a shared love and a fantastic social circle. We have made life-long friends thanks to rugby.

Sports

“When my son started rugby he was overwhelmed and a little scared. If there had been a didi rugby back then, we could have introduced it to him earlier and made the transition to outdoor sports easier.

“I am really looking forward to supporting a new generation of rugby dads – and mums like me – to inspire their little ones to be brave and have fun.

Two ladies in a red top and a man wearing a red top and blue cap smile
The Gully family

Simon, was fortunate enough to grow up in a family who loved a variety of sports but he soon decided that rugby was his favourite.

“It combined all of my favourite elements of sport,” Simon said. “Skill, physicality, speed, endurance, control and teamwork.”

Simon’s professional career

Simon has played rugby for over 40 years and was lucky enough to play the game professionally too.

“I have bestowed my rugby passion to my children and have been able to support them in their rugby journey, as both their coach and biggest supporter, Simon said.

“I have played and loved rugby all my life. It is my passion, my challenge, my happy place! I have been coached by some of the best over the years and the respect I have for them is immense.

“I can’t wait to use all I have learnt to inspire the younger generation to love the game as much as I do.”

Local club

The youngest member of didi Bristol, Tyler Gully, was introduced to rugby by her dad, Simon. She started playing for her local club when she was 11.

“I am thrilled at the thought of coaching kids how to play the sport that inspires me and others across the globe,” Tyler said. “Becoming a didi coach will enable me to encourage young children to get active, develop new skills and, most importantly, have fun and make new friends.”

The Gully family are all looking forward to meeting new didi rugby superstars on 9 September!

WATCH: Leicester Tigers and didi rugby launch exciting new partnership.

didi rugby Newcastle launch party

Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards wearing red didi rugby kit, holding their son, Oliver.

Bringing an exciting approach of children’s rugby to the North-East are rugby supporters, Hattie and Sophie Elliott-Edwards.

Our latest didi rugby franchise, didi rugby Newcastle, is opening with a launch party on 3rd September 2022.

The local area is home to a Premiership Rugby club in Newcastle Falcons and the sport has grown hugely in popularity there over the past decade.

didi rugby Newcastle leads

“Our son is our inspiration for becoming franchisees,” Hattie and Sophie said. “It is an opportunity we want for our son, who is a big driving force for us in bringing didi rugby to the North East.”

Hattie has previously played rugby with Lichfield Ladies RFC; starting off in the under 16’s and working her way up to the senior teams.

She had opportunities to play at regional and Premiership level, alongside some of the greatest players in women’s rugby. didi CEO, Vicky Macqueen and ambassadors Heather Fisher and Sarah Hunter.

Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards wearing red didi rugby kit, holding their son, Oliver.
Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards, didi rugby Newcastle leads.

During her time at Lichfield, Hattie coached under 18s and under 16s at the club at regional level.

“I’ve gained so much from rugby and truly believe in the holistic benefits the sport can provide,” Hattie said. “I put so much of my successes in life down to the mind-set, social skills, teamwork and self-belief learned when playing and coaching rugby.”

The other half of didi rugby Newcastle, Sophie, is a teaching assistant specialising in early years and Special Educational Needs (SEN) education. She will bring with her the knowledge and facilitation of the social and educational aspects that didi rugby incorporate, including relevant key stages for early years.

“I believe in the inclusivity sport and all the positives it provides for young children,” Sophie says. “This includes increasing physical development, teamwork, building social skills and, most importantly, having fun.”

Get involved

Hattie and Sophie said: “We are looking forward to this new chapter and encouraging little ones to get active and to develop a love of physical activity from an early age.

“For our first venue, we have teamed up with Novocastrains RFC. They are a very proactive, friendly club and we are very excited to join forces with such a great club.

“Novocastrians already have a great junior section that any aspiring didi stars could progress to, after the age of six.”

Click here to book your child’s free taster session. Be quick! Spaces are limited.

didi rugby Newcastle Facebook.

READ MORE: Exciting new launch of didi rugby Bristol.

WATCH: Coach Jake shares his journey so far.

 

 

didi ambassador – Manu Tuilagi 

Manu Tuilagi wearing a blue Sale Sharks rugby kit, sat in changing rooms.
The youngest of six brothers in the Samoan rugby dynasty to have played for Leicester Tigers, Manu Tuilagi has had a glittering career for both club and country. 
 
Having four older siblings, who have all represented Samoa, it was no surprise that this firecracker of a rugby player quickly found a passion for the sport. 

Manu Tuilagi

He moved to the UK as a teenager to follow his brothers on their respective career paths, before joining Rumney RFC’s youth setup.
 
Shortly after, he moved to Leicester to join the Tigers’ academy at 15. He made his first official appearances for the Tigers in 2009, but his first season with the senior side was the 2010-11 season where he quickly became an established first-team regular.

 

Manu Tuilagi wearing a blue Sale Sharks rugby kit, sat in changing rooms.

 

Flying his way through the England ranks, he played for the U16 and U18 age group teams, making a hugely physical impact along the way.

He became England’s youngest Rugby World Cup player at just 20 years, beating previous record holder Jonny Wilkinson.  

He scored England’s try in the memorable 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final win over New Zealand before being involved in the final defeat by South Africa. 
Tuilagi left Leicester in 2020 to join Premiership rivals Sale Sharks. 
WATCH: Manu Tuilagi joins the didi rugby family as an ambassador…

Exciting new launch of didi rugby Bristol

Rochelle and Simon Gully stood on a large rock at the beach.

One of the country’s biggest rugby hotbeds will soon have didi rugby classes on its doorstep.

The amazing city of Bristol is the latest venue for a launch of didi rugby and classes are expected to start later in the summer.

Led by a local family team, the Gully’s, Rochelle, Simon and Tyler say they can’t wait to start encouraging the next generation of rugby players to an area that has generated some of the country’s most famous players.

didi rugby Bristol leads

“I was introduced to rugby by my husband and have enjoyed watching him play for two decades,” said Rochelle.

“It was inevitable that the kids would love it too, so I have spent most Sundays in wellies and a raincoat being a supportive rugby mum.

“I can honestly say that being part of the rugby community has given our family a physical and emotional outlet, a shared love and a fantastic social circle.

“We have made life-long friends thanks to rugby and I am really looking forward to supporting a new generation of rugby parents to inspire their little ones to be brave and have fun.”

Rochelle and Simon Gully stood on a large rock at the beach.
Simon and Rochelle Gully- didi rugby Bristol leads.

Vicky Macqueen

didi rugby CEO, Vicky Macqueen added: “We’re very excited for our new didi Bristol launch. More young children will now have the opportunity to get involved in our incredible sport.

“Having dozens of venues across the country means that more and more children will be able to get active, have fun, enjoy sport and grow in confidence.

“Simon and Rochelle have been big advocates of didi rugby sine we first launched classes in the Midlands and it is great to have them on board.”

Venues and launch times for Bristol sessions will follow soon.

didi rugby Bromley and Newcastle

Bristol will follow hot on the footsteps of two more new venues; didi rugby Bromley and Newcastle.

Bromley are hoping to offer first taster sessions on Saturday 6 August, with Newcastle’s launch likely to be early September.

Bromley classes will be led by former England Women’s rugby captain Maxine Edwards.

While Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards will bring loads of energy and excitement to classes in the north-east.

Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards wearing red didi rugby kit, holding their son, Oliver.
Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards, didi rugby Newcastle leads.

We can guarantee anyone heading to any of our three new venues, that their children will be in very good hands and will be learning to have fun and grow in confidence in safe and positive environments.

If you would like to put your child’s name down for a free taster session, please contact info@didirugby.com and follow didi rugby on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more details.

You can also keep up to date by following both new areas Facebook pages at…

didi rugby Bristol Facebook

didi rugby Newcastle Facebook  

didi rugby Bromley Facebook 

Read more: didi rugby is coming to Newcastle and Bromley. 

Watch: Leicester Tigers and didi rugby launch exciting new partnership. Hear from both CEOs…

didi rugby is coming to Newcastle and Bromley

Maxine Bromley (right) stands with didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen (left) and former England flanker Maggie Alphonsi

There’s some great news for young rugby fans in Newcastle and Bromley – didi rugby is coming your way soon. 

Our classes in Bromley will be led by former England Women’s rugby captain Maxine Edwards.

So our new didi stars will certainly be learning from the very best. 

Maxine was England skipper when didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen flew out to represent her country in New Zealand as an 18-year-old.

Maxine Edwards

She will be bringing a huge amount of energy and knowledge to classes in and around the Bromley area.

“I first became interested in playing rugby at 18 and joined Bromley RFC in Hayes” she said.

“Since then, I have represented the South East Region and the South Division, playing at Blackheath FC and Saracens RFC, before achieving over 40 caps as an England International and being fortunate to captain the side for 2 successful seasons. 

Maxine Bromley (right) stands with didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen (left) and former England flanker Maggie Alphonsi
Maxine Bromley (right) stands with didi rugby founder and CEO Vicky Macqueen (left) and former England flanker Maggie Alphonsi

“I have been working as a secondary school teacher in Kent for 18 years, working with children from 11 to 18 years of age and have been looking for a real and long-term opportunity to encourage young people to experience the joy that being active, and sport has given me.”

Our new classes in Newcastle will be coming soon too. Lead by Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards, they are expected to launch this summer.

didi rugby Newcastle

The local area is home to a Premiership Rugby club in Newcastle Falcons and the sport has grown hugely in popularity there over the past decade.

The pair are both very excited to join the didi rugby family and to provide local  children with fun activities and new skills. 

Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards stand together with young son Oliver wearing red didi rugby tops
Sophie and Hattie Elliott-Edwards stand together with young son Oliver wearing red didi rugby tops

More information regarding the time and dates of the launches will be following soon. In the mean time, if you would like to register your child for a free taster session when classes in. both areas become live, please email info@didirugby.com.

You can also keep up to date by following both new areas Facebook pages at…

Read more: didi rugby announce industry giants SAMURAI as their new kit provider

Read more: Keri Holdsworth’s family legacy is string as nephew Kit starts didi rugby

WATCH…. What is didi rugby?

 

 

 

 

 

NEWS: didi rugby sign new kit deal with SAMURAI

The word 'SAMURAI' in black text against a white backdrop

didi rugby have secured a new kit deal with one of rugby’s most recognisable brand names.

SAMURAI will be didi rugby’s official kit suppliers.

The business is one of the most respected kit producers across the world of rugby, cricket, netball and hockey. They also offer some stunning leisurewear for both men and women.

Leicester Tigers player Namani Nadolo wears a green top with SAMURAI branding on it
SAMURAI are Leicester Tigers official kit suppliers in 2022

SAMURAI have been making premium products for over 25 years and continue to shine as a leading global team-wear brand.

They are official kit suppliers to another one of didi rugby’s high-profile partners, Leicester Tigers (see above).

Vicky Macqueen

And there is a special link between the two businesses as didi rugby owner and CEO Vicky Macqueen explains.

“We are thrilled to be partnered with SAMURAI,” said Vicky. “I have personally represented SAMURAI on the rugby Sevens circuit and love the values and the ethos behind the brand.

“didi rugby’s values and mission is to grow the game at grass roots level getting more young children and their families involved in our amazing game.

“We are looking forward to working on this with SAMURAI for the good of the game and utilising our place in the market to inspire more young children and their parents to get involved in rugby.

kit

“Our bright red designs have always been popular with children and parents alike and we are excited about getting SAMURAI’s take on our kit out and about amongst our franchises across the UK.

Darren Bird, our Sales and Business Development Manager added: “SAMURAI are really excited by this partnership.

“It means a great deal to us to be able to support the next rugby generation and we’re proud to be associated with didi rugby’s fantastic vision.”

Find out more about SAMURAI

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

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…