"Inspirational" Berkhamsted teenager takes on walking challenge to raise hundreds for Derwen College

Ciara has already raised over £500

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:25 am
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:28 am

A teenager from Berkhamsted is on a mission to walk 2,000 miles to raise money for the Derwen Easter Charity Challenge.

Ciara McKenna, 19, who has Downs Syndrome, is studying a BTec in Creative Arts at Derwen College, where she is a residential student.

She started the challenge - a 2,000 mile walk over 14 days - on Monday, March 29, and has already raised over £500 for the college.

Ciara has been walking every day for the challenge

Staff at Derwen College - for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) - have organised The Derwen Easter Charity Challenge. A 2000-mile tour of Britain, visiting the regions and towns the college’s students, past and present, all hail from.

Money raised from the challenge will be used to create new, modern accommodation at the Agnes Hunt Village. This is a complex of bungalows where people with SEND learn to live on their own, as independently as possible.

Ciara said: "I am doing the Derwen Easter Challenge to help raise money for all the students. I am finding it difficult to walk the longer distances but it helps keep me fit."

Gerard, Ciara's dad, said: "Ciara decided she would walk the distance for her challenge to raise money for the college.

Ciara is on a mission to walk 2,000 miles to raise money for the Derwen Easter Charity Challenge

"The college is amazing and has really helped her, they encourage independent living, but have care workers available to support the students.

"It is great for young adults with learning difficulties and she really wanted to help with the challenge and raise as much money as possible."

Keen swimmer Ciara, who attended John F Kennedy Catholic School in Hemel Hempstead, competed for the Down Syndrome GB swimming team in Kosovo in 2018 and the Down Syndrome European Championships in Sardinia in 2019. She is currently training for the European Championships, which are scheduled for Italy in October.

Gerard added: "This challenge is typical of Ciara, she is very inspirational, for her to walk this distance is amazing.


"When she was young she could hardly walk the garden because of her hip problems, but she is determined and has done amazing ever since and has worked so hard. She also loves swimming and is very active.

"We have been walking with her, and going over the hills, we are lucky that there are some great places to walk in Berkhamsted."