STAFF from a Blackwood opticians are calling for donations for an eyecare charity as they prepare to take part in the Great Ethiopian Run later this month.

James Morris, principal optometrist, and Chris Padfield, in-store trainer, both employees at Specsavers Blackwood, are flying to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to take part in a 10 kilometre race in aid of Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) and volunteer at a local eyecare centre and raise funds.

The employees are now encouraging local residents to donate old or unused frames to VAO for money towards the charity.

The charity makes eyecare accessible to vulnerable children and adults in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Mr Morris said: "VAO does so much for communities in Africa, which is why I felt compelled to show my support and fundraise for the charity.

"We know not everyone will have unwanted glasses frames, so we also have JustGiving pages should anyone want to donate money to the cause."

Mr Padfield added: "This is my first ever race so I’m getting quite nervous in the lead up to the event, but I’m determined to do it and excited to be taking on the challenge for VAO."

"Seeing a VAO centre first-hand is an exciting opportunity and will no doubt open our eyes to the role it plays in supporting communities who do not have access to the same level of eyecare services that we have at home.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support from staff and customers so far."

Since 2003, Specsavers has collected and recycled more than a quarter of a million glasses for VAO, and raised more than £800,000.

A total of 19 members of staff, from Specsavers stores across the UK, will be travelling to Ethiopia for the race on November 26, 2017.

To donate to VAO, visit the Specsavers store on High Street, Blackwood, or go to the JustGiving pages online: and