PROUD smiles, laughter and a few tears were order of the day at a college’s graduation ceremony.

More than 200 people, including learners and their families from across England and Wales, staff and local dignitaries attended the Derwen College event at Lion Quays Resort near Oswestry.

Dignitaries including deputy mayor of Oswestry, Cllr John Price. Guests enjoyed reception drinks, a hot buffet, and graduates were presented with their certificates - a lasting memento of their time at the specialist college in Gobowen for young people with learning and physical difficulties.

Special awards were also given for exceptional achievement in specific areas of the curriculum, for overcoming disability in the workplace and for the outstanding student of the year.

A college spokesman said: “It was a chance for students to dress up and catch up with old friends to talk about their plans for the future.”

A total of 57 students and seven Living and Work Programme learners attended the ceremony ceremony having learned new skills, made friends and discovered new experiences.

It was the second time that the college has held the ceremony at an external venue.

Entertainment was provided by Derwen College’s sign, song and dance performance group Derwen on Tour (DOT).

Derwen College Principal Meryl Green said it had been a wonderful occasion, which had made her very proud.

She said: “Thank you to all the students and their families who made this such a special occasion. It’s such a privilege to be able to celebrate the achievements of our students. It is always sad to see students leave us but a delight to hear what the future holds for them next.

“We hope that the learning and skills they develop at Derwen College will stay with them and help them through the next stages of their lives into work and independent living.”