We are delighted that Holly has joined our BRIT Ambassador family. Holly has played 72 matches for the England Sevens team at senior level, scoring 259 points. She switched from XVs to Sevens in 2016 and signed with Saracens in 2020. In February 2021, Holly was selected for the Great Britain initial training squad ahead of the 2021 Olympic Games and the HSBS World Sevens Series.
"I am thrilled to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health in the UK.
As a former student at Hartpury College, and having spent time with young male and female athletes in the Great Britain and England Sevens squads, and at Saracens, I know that young adults are facing many mental health difficulties. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on students and young adults throughout the UK and the restrictions have compounded existing mental health challenges.
Many young adults are experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness and I cannot imagine how hard this must be for those students with disabilities, limited mobility and who are vulnerable. I know my fellow players in the Great Britain and England squads, and those at clubs all around the UK, will have found the past year challenging, however we are so lucky to have superb support staff around us and are able to talk openly to fellow players about the frustrations, anxieties and lows. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to struggle with mental health day after day; this is why I have joined the BRIT Ambassador family and am championing the BRIT 2021 Challenge.
The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are determined to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK by delivering their annual BRIT Challenge. This exciting and inclusive feel-good fundraiser has the potential to engage millions of Higher Education and Further education students throughout the UK; by inviting every university and college to embrace the BRIT 2021 Challenge, young adults will be able to participate wherever they are; at home or on campus.
To deliver inspiration and encouragement, Olympians, Paralympians and sports personalities are being invited to join the BRIT Ambassador family. They are supporting universities and/or colleges of their choice to enter teams and inspire young adults and students to take part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge. I urge my fellow male and female rugby players to unite and join our BRIT Ambassador family; our rugby family has the potential to support hundreds of universities and colleges around the UK and encourage as many students as possible to enter teams in the Challenge.
I would be delighted to support students and staff at Hartpury College as they take on their BRIT 2021 Challenge and will also encourage the Great Britain, England and Saracens squad players to support students and young adults at universities and colleges of their choice.”
Holly’s interest in rugby came from her father, Ian, who is a former England U20 and Saxon player and the Director of Rugby at Waterloo. As a junior, Holly player rugby at Waterloo with a boy’s side and had one season with the club’s U15s before switching to Liverpool St Helens. Holly attended St Peter’s Primary and Range High where she was taught by her schoolteacher and former England international, Gill Burns. Whilst at Range High, Holly led the team in two National Schools’ finals and was in the North U18 team that won bronze medals in the Sainsbury’s School Games. Holly then played for Litchfield whilst focusing on rugby as a student at Hartpury College. From the age of 12, Holly was in the England Talent Development Group and earned her England U18 Sevens debut on her 16thbirthday. She was Vice-Captain of England U18 Sevens when the squad became European Champions twice and then went on to earning caps in the XVs for the England U20 team. In 2016, Holly switched from XVs to Sevens rugby.
Holly made her World Sevens debut in Las Vegas in 2017, scoring a try in the Challenge Trophy semi-final against Argentina. She also played in the Kitakyushu tournament the following month. Holly joined the programme full-time the following season, scoring three tries in five matches in England’s 2019/20 World Sevens opener in Glendale. She then sustained an injury which ruled her out of the next five events. Holly has played 72 matches for England Sevens at senior level, scoring 259 points. In October 2020, Holly signed with Saracens Rugby Football Club. Holly was selected for the Great Britain initial training squad in February 2021. Both the Men’s and Women’s squads will be based at Loughborough University with their first camps set to take place in March ahead of their pre-Olympic tournaments in the lead up to July and the HSBC World Sevens Series 2021.