Specsavers staff can’t believe their eyes

Melody Cockman, of Specsavers Bideford, with the 960 pairs of glasses. Melody Cockman, of Specsavers Bideford, with the 960 pairs of glasses.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
8:00 AM

Specsavers collect record number of glasses for charity

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EARLIER this year, Bideford’s Specsavers hosted a month-long collection drive for old and disused glasses, and the Gazette can reveal the final count: a staggering 960.

Fundraising for Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), staff originally aimed to collect 500 pairs of glasses by May – a figure that would have been a record for the charity.

In the end, after local businessmen and community groups had all visited the store, staff were truly amazed by the overall number of glasses that had been donated.

Specsavers’ store director Jerry Shrub expressed his deep gratitude towards all of Bideford’s people on behalf of the staff and said: “At the end of the day, the collected specs are boxed and donated to VAO for recycling. The charity uses the money it makes from selling the reusable materials to fund its work in developing countries.”

Based in Crawley, West Susses, Vision Aid Overseas currently operates in eight African countries to transform the continent’s eyecare services and, as part of the global Vision 2020 initiative, completely eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020.

Over the past decade, Specsavers stores have collected and recycled more than a quarter of a million glasses for the charity, raising in the process over £550,000.

So far, the money raised by the company’s recycling efforts have contributed towards a number of projects – including an eyecare clinic in the Zambian capital Lusaka, which was officially opened in 2011 by Specsavers’ founder, Dame Mary Perkins.

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