VISITORS have been invited to step back in time to learn about the woman who founded a college that offers opportunities to people with physical and learning disabilities.

Derwen College in Gobowen is celebrating the work of Dame Agnes Hunt - who founded the college in 1927 - with some home-made cake and a journey through the archives on September 6 and 15.

Agnes developed a disability as a child that left her in permanent pain.

Despite this, she travelled the world, including living in the bush in Tasmania, before returning to the UK to train as a nurse. In 1900 she opened a convalescent home for "crippled" children where she promoted the benefits of open-air treatments for disabled children.

Dame Agnes later went on to co-found the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen, near Oswestry, treating older patients, soldiers and civilians injured in the First World War.

In 1927, at the age of 61, Dame Agnes founded the Derwen Training College, also in Gobowen, where physically disabled young people could learn a trade and become partially or wholly self-supporting.

Tonia Davies, Derwen College’s marketing and business development manager, said the college was looking forward to sharing the amazing story of its founder.

She said: “Dame Agnes was one of Shropshire’s most extraordinary and inspirational women, and Derwen College would not be here without her.

"There have been many changes at the college - and in specialist education - over the years but Agnes’s values still hold strong.”

Heritage Open Days brings together more than 2,500 organisations every September to open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history offering visitors the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences for free.

Derwen College will hold talks with home-made refreshments on Thursday September, 6 between 2pm-3pm and from 11am to midday on Saturday, September 15 between 11am-midday.

Booking for the Heritage Open Day events is essential. Contact Helen Edwards on 01691 661 234 or email