About didi rugby Blackburn and Ribble Valley
John O’Ryan – didi rugby Preston, Blackburn and Ribble Valley
Family trio John, James and Sam bring several lifetimes of playing, coaching and professional experience to providing fun activities for our smallest friends across Blackburn, Darwen and the 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 we know that children can gain from taking part in sports.
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 rugby journey.
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 with it like health, confidence, friends, skills and fun.
John is the head coach of the didi rugby franchise for Blackburn and the Ribble Valley.
He has been a driving force for grass roots rugby for over 20 years as a player, coach and volunteer for club, county schools union chairperson and as a national volunteer co-ordinator.
John has twice been recognised for his services to local rugby by the RFU, for mini and youth engagement and for promotion of girls’ rugby opportunities.
He has over 30 years secondary school teaching experience, an MSc in Education Management, and is a level 2 qualified RFU coach.
“Working with the didi rugby programme has given me a fantastic opportunity to complete the circle of coaching young people from 18 months to 18 years – something I have been enjoyed doing for every second over the last 20 years.
Son James O’Ryan added: “Having played rugby since the age of 4, I know how much impact sport can have on a young person’s livelihood. Sport – and rugby in particular – has always been a major part of my life. It led me to pursue sport-related studies later on with a goal to be involved in the sport industry in some capacity.
“Now having just finished a master’s degree year at Leeds Beckett studying Sport Business Management, this is the right time for me to combine my academic studies and natural will and determination into a career that is both equally challenging and rewarding at the same time.
Sam O’Ryan says: “All of our boys played rugby from the age of 5 and our house in full of images of muddy lads with smiles a mile wide. I have always been amazed by the community and extended family you gain by being part of rugby and the support we all give each other.
“As a Health Visitor in this district, I am keenly aware that not everyone has access to the opportunities to thrive as my lads have done, so programmes like didi rugby are ideal for promoting physically, socially and emotionally-active children. I particularly love that rugby has a proud tradition of inclusion and welcomes kids of all shapes, sizes, ability, and skillset.”