Shropshire Star

Inspirational paralysed teacher takes to a handbike to raise funds for her college

A determined Shropshire teacher who was paralysed in a climbing accident has signed up to complete five kilometres on a handbike, to support the specialist college where she works with young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.

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Jo Lawson

Jo Lawson, a teacher in hospitality and food at Derwen College, near Oswestry, is joining students and supporters who are taking part in a Derwen Charity sponsored walk and run on Saturday .

She was was left paralysed after a climbing accident in 2004 and uses a wheelchair.

After tackling the bike challenge, she will be serving tea and scones in the college’s Orangery Restaurant for the Derwen Fete taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

This year the annual sponsored walk is being made more accessible than ever before, allowing participants to take the challenge in their own way. Walkers, runners and wheelchair users have been invited to complete either a 1K,5K, or 10K challenge and can finish the event in one go, or in manageable daily chunks.

Jo said she had not used a handbike before, and that it was going to be an arduous task. She is aiming to travel 5km over the week and hopes to raise more than £500.

She trained as a teacher after a life-changing accident left her with a shattered spine, and spent many years recovering and going through countless operations.

Jo has worked as a hospitality and food teacher at Derwen College for five months, supporting students in their work placements in the college’s Garden Centre Café and Hotel 751.

“I love my job working with students in hospitality and want to play my part to support them and Derwen Charity," she said.

"People who know me will know how hard this challenge will be for me, but if it helps raise money to support students with learning difficulties and disabilities, then it’ll be worth it.”

You can sponsor Jo online at

Find out more about Derwen Fete Weekend and Sponsored Walk/Run at