“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.

Tommy is thriving at didi rugby despite Hypermobility Syndrome

Suffering from Hypermobility Syndrome Tommy Oliver laughs with his friends at a didi rugby class

It is no wonder mum Sally Nash is beaming when she tells the tale of her son Tommy Oliver’s battle with Hypermobilty Syndrome.

The five-year-old from Bramley near Basingstoke has a condition where bodily joints easily move beyond the expected range.

As a result, it can be hard to control those joints and they can dislocate easily. Hypermobility Syndrome can also lead to pain, chronic fatigue and a host of other challenges at times too.

With that in mind, it was with trepidation that Sally first took Tommy to a didi rugby class some 18 months ago.

Now, he is thriving. And Sally is grateful for everything that has happened to her lad during his time in a didi rugby shirt.

“When he first started, he couldn’t walk in a straight line, let alone run in one and,” said Sally. “Now, with the help of his didi coaches, he is fully active and runs around taking part in everything. He absolutely loves it.

“His confidence has grown in a massive way. Previously, he would hardly ever leave my side but now we have friends round to play and that is great to see.

“He loves his coaches and calls them didi Donna and didi Caitlin. Tommy often talks about them and we sometimes use them to help change his behaviour at home! We say if he doesn’t improve, we are going to tell didi Donna! It works too.

“He sulks if we have to miss a session for whatever reason. He loves it. It is fun and he is often upset when they are finished.

Hypermobilty Syndrome


“The free taster sessions helped us get him into it. At many clubs, you have to book a term in advance but didi were really flexible and let us see how he got on and coped with the physical demands of the classes.

“They have been really supportive and if he has a bad day with his Hypermobility Syndrome, they alter what they do to make sure he doesn’t feel left out.

“He has come on so much with his motor skills through didi it is amazing. He loves it and we love it too.

One of his coaches is franchise co-owner, Donna Clark.

“Tommy always comes bounding up to us and into class with a big smile on his face and he is clearly thriving. His enthusiasm and giggle is infectious and if I could bottle it, I would,” said Donna.

“There is nothing he won’t try and through his determination and enjoyment of didi rugby, we have seen a huge improvement in his balance and coordination. There really is no stopping him. He is an absolute joy to coach.”

Read more: Tommy was in the news when he first started didi rugby too

Watch: VIDEO – Italy’s didi rugby pioneers from Colorno visit HQ

What is didi rugby?