Spec-tacular effort as thousands are helped

Cottingham, spectacles collection Lions: l-r Bipin Karsandas, Mike Garlick, Colin Bradshaw, John Masters, and Derek Ashworth.'21/08/12
Cottingham, spectacles collection Lions: l-r Bipin Karsandas, Mike Garlick, Colin Bradshaw, John Masters, and Derek Ashworth.'21/08/12
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A scheme which encourages people to leave their unwanted spectacles at the opticians has helped thousands of people in the Third World.

Corby and District Lions Club collects about 500 pairs of glasses every month from opticians in Corby, Kettering and Market Harborough which then get sent to help people in the Third World.

Lions member Colin Bradshaw said: “We collect from six or seven opticians, including Specsavers and Asda, and over 10 years have received about 85,000 spectacles.

“I sort them and send them off to the Lions in Chichester, who grade them and they are then sent to France and on to eye camps in the Third World, mainly India and Africa.

“We take all types of glasses, and any frames that have gold in them are dismantled and the money raised from selling the gold, which can be up to £20,000 a year, is used to fund eye projects in the Third World and elsewhere.”

Lions nationally take part in the scheme and Parcelforce deliver the glasses for free.

The scheme is co-ordinated by the Lions Club in Chichester, who started collecting glasses in 1980. They linked up with Le Havre Lions in France in 1985 who further clean and grade the glasses before sending them on their way.

Recently Chichester Lions have introduced their own facilities for grading glasses and have started sending glasses directly to places such as Nepal, Ghana, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria.

Last year alone, British Lions Clubs contributed more than 300,000 spectacles to the scheme.