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Knaresborough child cancer survivor is guest of honour as Wetherby optician celebrates its new premises

Press Release   •   Nov 29, 2016 15:02 GMT

L-R Vision Express Wetherby store manager Sarah Mills, optical assistant Kay Reed, CHECT ambassador Hollie Atkinson, optical assistant Abigail Price and optometrist Stuart Webster

A young eye cancer survivor from Knaresborough was guest of honour at the Vision Express Wetherby store as it unveiled its new premises in Market Place.

As an ambassador the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), Hollie Atkinson, aged 12, joined the team to perform a ribbon cutting, officially declaring the new store open.

A nominated charity of Vision Express, CHECT raises awareness of a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma, also known as Rb. Around 50 to 60 cases of Rb are diagnosed each year and while 90% of those diagnosed will survive, they may face having an eye removed.

Hollie was diagnosed with retinoblastoma just before her third birthday. She underwent lifesaving surgery to remove one of her eyes and now wears an artificial eye.

Hollie and her mum, Bev Barker, were welcomed into the Vision Express Wetherby store by store manager Sarah Mills, who has 16 years’ experience serving the local community. Previously, Sarah and the rest of the Wetherby team have fundraised for CHECT with a coffee and cake day at the store, and Sarah has also personally raised money for the charity running in the Wetherby 10k and The Great North Run.

Sarah said: “Here at the store, we think it’s really important to raise awareness of such a rare disease as retinoblastoma so it was great to have Hollie here at the store in her role as CHECT ambassador.

“We had a great day celebrating the new store and it was a privilege to welcome Hollie to cut the ribbon with us. Our team has over 57 years’ experience in optics and it’s fantastic to continue to offer local residents a thorough and individual vision care service from our new premises.”

Vision Express has enjoyed an award-winning partnership with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) since 2010, using initiatives to raise awareness and drive donations for the charity, so they can help more families affected.

It was the first optician in the UK to roll out a protocol to ensure a quick and effective referral if retinoblastoma is suspected. Employees and customers of Vision Express have raised around £300,000 since the partnership was forged and recently added £25,000 to the tally with a 200-mile cycle fundraiser in September, called the ‘Ride4Sight’.

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test at the Doncaster store call 01302 366555, visit 28 Upper North Mall, Frenchgate Shopping Centre, DN1 1LJ or make an online enquiry at: www.visionexpress.com/book-eye-test/

For more information on retinoblastoma please visit www.chect.org.uk

About Vision Express

Vision Express is the third largest optical retailer in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating across 43 countries, spanning over 6,000 stores and online.

With more than 390 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.

Vision Express is considered one of the leading and most trusted opticians in the UK and Ireland, with its European offering supported through sister eye care brands Grand Optical, Solaris and Generale D'Optique.

With around 4,000 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charitable Partnerships and include:

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