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Chernobyl Children Come To Torquay

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A GROUP of youngsters from Chernobyl has been invited to a local opticians on Wednesday 13 April to receive free sight tests and glasses.

Some 25 years after the 1986 nuclear power disaster, staff at Specsavers in Torquay will host eight children visiting from Korosten, Ukraine, a town near Chernobyl which remains contaminated with radiation. As well as testing their eyesight, the eye examinations will also provide a comprehensive health check to ensure the children have no underlying health issues.

Sue Wyeth, spokesperson for the charity Chernobyl Children, says: 'Although the children really enjoy the adventure of being in a different country the main purpose of the visit is to improve their health. Just a month in the UK improves their immune system so much that it takes two years to return to the previous levels.'

Joy Filon, store director of Specsavers in Torquay, says: 'We're delighted to have the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of these children. Regular eye checks are an important part of a healthcare routine and access to eyecare is not available for the children in their home town. The radiation they're subjected to increases the chances of contracting illnesses such as cataracts which would go undetected without an eye examination.'

The visit will occur at the beginning of the children's month-long trip to the area and any treatment done by Specsavers will be completely free of charge. The children will also have an appointment with a dentist to ensure their oral hygiene is at a good level.


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You are invited to visit the store at 79-81 Union Street, Torquay at 14:20 to capture the children receiving their eye examinations.

Specsavers notes to editors

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world
  • The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,500 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Annual turnover for the Specsavers Group was £1.36 billion for 2009/10 and is forecast to reach £1.55 billion in 2010/11.
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 26,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the ninth year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2010
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers * - 9,700,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2009
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK *
  • Specsavers is the largest retail provider of home delivery contact lenses in Europe and one of the top two retail suppliers of continuous wear lenses in the world
  • Specsavers is now the largest retail dispenser of digital hearing aids in the UK and offers a hearing service from more than 400 locations
  • Specsavers supports numerous optical and hearing charities, including Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. During its three-year support for Diabetes UK it raised more than £250,000 to fund various projects
  • Since 2003 more than a quarter of a million glasses have been collected and recycled by Specsavers stores for Vision Aid Overseas, for use in developing countries. Specsavers has raised over £370,000 for the charity since 2006, with almost £245,000 going towards its work in Zambia.