Staff and students from Derwen College in Shropshire have successfully completed a cycle challenge around Lake Vyrnwy to raise funds for the college. The challenge, led by college student Mackenzie Beeson saw students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) take on the full distance of the Mid Wales beauty spot – a distance of 14 miles.

Mack and his friend Joe Simpson cycled the lake in adapted bikes and their fellow cyclists used traditional mountain bikes. Derwen College Sports Coordinator Steve Evans also cycled the distance in an adapted bike to highlight how tough the challenge was for students with disabilities.

This is the first time that Derwen College has embarked on a charity event like this – but, spurred on by Mack’s determination to cycle around the lake, the idea soon took flight and eight other students wanted to join.

Adapted and conventional bikes and equipment were provided by the generous team at Pedal Power in Alyn Waters, Wrexham.

Fundraiser for Derwen College, Anna Evans said: “Derwen College doesn’t have that many bikes of its own, and we needed to borrow some bikes at very short notice to ensure all the students who wanted to join Mack, could do. Thanks to the fantastic team at Pedal Power, we managed to get the bikes we needed, plus the helmets and everyone was able to take part. One of students needed an adapted bike, and we got that from Pedal Power too, so we really do owe them a huge thank you!”

The college also received wonderful support from Bethania Adventure in Lake Vyrnwy, who lent out a boat for the event. Two members of staff from Derwen College used the boat to traverse the lake and follow the cyclists with their drone video camera, capturing the cyclists the entire route around the lake.

So far, the students have raised just under £1500, but are hoping for more donations now they have completed the challenge.

“We are going to review how this event went, and hopefully will do it again next year – it was such a great day for all involved,” said Anna.

For more information about Mack’s Challenge and to pledge your support please go to:

About Derwen College

Derwen College, in Gobowen, Shropshire, is a specialist college for young adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. The college offers students the opportunity to learn new skills in real work environments and to learn life skills which will enable them to live as independently as possible. The college has received three consecutive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted gradings.

For more information go to