Specs appeal

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Parishioners are continuing to support an initiative which helps needy people in developing counties whose lives are blighted by bad eyesight.

In the past nine years, St Thomas’s Church, Somercotes, has sent more than 15,000 pairs of used spectacles to Vision Aid Overseas (VAO).

The charity reuses thousands of secondhand glasses every year and church members help in this work.

All glasses which are in good condition are useful but the following cannot be used: those that are bent, badly scratched or with scuffed lenses; any which are broken, bifocals or varifocals.

Members cannot accept spectacle cases as they are too heavy to send overseas nor do they need loose lenses or empty frames.

Glasses can be given to Granville Stone or left at church.

Selected prisoners are trained by VAO volunteers to carry out a detailed examination of the spectacles before grading the lenses and packing them.

VAO give instruments, hand tools and packing materials to the prisoners. The glasses are then sent back to Crawley before being shipped overseas to be used by teams of volunteer, unpaid opticians from England who work with the needy people abroad.