Student and teacher saddle up for challenge in aid of Derwen College

By Lucy Todman | Mid Wales | News | Published:

A growing team of cyclists have been in training for a challenging charity bike ride around Lake Vyrnwy on adapted and conventional bikes in aid of Derwen College.

Derwen College sports co-ordinator Steve Evans will be tackling the route around the Mid Wales lake on an adapted bike, accompanying student Mackenzie Beeson and host of pedal-powered supporters for Mack’s Challenge on July 7.

Steve is one of an adventurous team which include Mackenzie, his father Shane Beeson, 10 students from the college as well as supporters including Oswestry Masons David Towers and Pete Adams.

The Mack’s Challenge team have all been inspired by Mackenzie’s love of cycling his specially adapted bike. Mack’s Challenge is raising funds for the college – a specialist further education college for young adults with special educational need and disablilities (SEND) near Oswestry.

Steve was so impressed with the effort and commitment shown by Mackenzie and fellow students that he has pledged to complete the challenge on an adapted bike rather than a conventional two-wheeler.

He said: “These students’ commitment to cycling Lake Vyrnwy has been inspirational. I wanted to understand and highlight the challenge of riding an adapted bike on a long-distance route by trying one out myself. It has taken me out of my comfort zone and given me more of an understanding of how hard Mack is pushing himself for this challenge.”

Steve on his adapted bike

Seven students visited Pedal Power Wrexham Alyn Waters Country Park to take to the saddle and practice for the big event along with Steve, David Towers from Lodge of St Oswald and Pete Adams of Cae Glas Lodge in Oswestry.

Mackenzie, from Aberdyfi in Gwynedd, has been out and about raising awareness for ‘Mack’s Challenge’ and has already raised more than £800. He promoted Mack’s Challenge at the college’s Summer Fete and again at Oswestry Market where shoppers supported him generously.


He has speech and language difficulties and learning difficulties, but has never allowed his disabilities to hinder his ambitions. He has a love of cycling on his specially adapted bike, and a determination to prove that anything is possible.

Shane says that Mack has never let anything hold him back.

He said: “His first ride charity bike when he was school was a 39-mile cycle from Newtown to Aberdyfi. In summer 2017 he cycled a gruelling 99 miles over five days. As a family, we have always wanted to highlight Mack’s abilities rather than his disabilities, and he has always challenged himself in all his endeavours.

“We are pleased to be able to take part in this challenge and to raise money for Derwen College, and would like to thank everyone who has supported us so far.”

To donate money for Mack’s Challenge please visit

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.


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