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Leamington Spa child cancer survivor is special guest as Banbury optician celebrates its newly refurbished store

Press Release   •   Oct 05, 2016 10:41 BST

Nine-year-old Leamington Spa eye cancer survivor, Thomas Lawson, with the Vision Express Banbury team

Nine-year-old Leamington Spa eye cancer survivor, Thomas Lawson, helped to relaunch the Vision Express store in Banbury after its recent extensive renovation.

As an ambassador for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), Thomas and his mum Rebecca joined the store’s team to perform a ribbon cutting to unveil the newly refurbished premises.

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.

At just five months old, Thomas was diagnosed with the rare condition in both of his eyes after his mum spotted a white glare in his eyes in photographs. Thomas underwent six rounds of chemotherapy to treat the tumours. In 2014 he was given a prestigious CHECT champion award by the charity for the courage and bravery he showed during his cancer battle.

Thomas and Rebecca were welcomed by store director Nirja Chowdhury and the rest of the Vision Express Banbury team, which has over 60 years of combined optical experience with Vision Express.

Nirja said: “It was a privilege to welcome Thomas to declare our newly refurbished store open. We’ve been in the Castle Quay Shopping Centre as Vision Express for 16 years and it’s fantastic to have upgraded facilities so we can continue to offer local residents a thorough and individual vision care service.

“Thomas’ visit is great to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests, and crucially of retinoblastoma.”

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 £23,000 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 find book an eye test at the Banbury store call 01295 709006or make an online enquiry at:

For more information on retinoblastoma please visit

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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