YOUNGSTERS from Horizons College pedalled their way to fundraising success on Thursday all in aid of raising much-needed funds towards a new minibus.

The team of dedicated fundraisers hoped to encourage shoppers at Sainsbury’s in Stratton to dig deep for loose change while they clocked up over 50 miles on a static bike.

A total of £25,000 is needed for the bus and that sum was given a vital boost earlier this year thanks to a £5,000 donation from the Swindon Charity Ball.

Horizons College, formerly known as the Uplands Educational Trust, aims to help young people aged between 11 and 25 with learning difficulties by providing enriching learning, working and living provisions.

Chief fundraiser Cliff Puffett has been the driving force behind the mammoth fundraising task and was grateful to Sainsburys shoppers who donated money.

“The most heart-warming thing for me is that these kids have stepped up to the plate and got on the bike with a great deal of effort because it is a challenge for a lot of them. It is quite therapeutic as well.

“To have our own minibus to take the learners to their placements would be a revelation.

“It was 10 months ago I sat down with Jackie Smith, the CEO, and said what do we need most and the minibus was the answer. It normally takes years to raise this amount but we’ve nearly managed to do it in a year.”

The fundraiser was the ninth bikeathon the College has held in the last year and there is also a number of other events planned for the coming weeks including a racing legends fundraising evening at the Marriott Hotel in collaboration with the Rotary club on October 23.

The willing volunteers were joined by Swindon Town FC’s mascot Rockin’ Robin to gain extra support at Sainsburys and staff from Horizons College are still counting up the pennies and the pounds but hope it will bring them closer to their target.