Cricket legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff has officially opened Specsavers’ 800th UK and Irish store in the Sainsbury’s Superstore in Preston, Deepdale.
The cricketer turned broadcaster cut the ribbon at the store on Flintoff Way alongside Specsavers co-founder Dame Mary Perkins and store partners Chris Shore and Sean Buckley.
Dame Mary said: ‘When we opened our first Specsavers store in Bristol in 1984 it was impossible to imagine that we would one day be opening our 800th store; it is an amazing milestone.
‘The Deepdale store is the fifth we have opened in a Sainsbury’s since August last year. We are delighted with the success of this collaboration with Sainsbury’s and have agreed to open a further nine locations in Sainsbury’s before the end of March next year.’
Andrew Flintoff said: ‘One of the first lessons they teach you in cricket, football or any sport as a kid is to “keep your eye on the ball” but so many of us take our sight for granted.
‘To see how far eye and audiology healthcare has developed since Specsavers opened its first store is incredible. I’ve heard how nearly half of all sight loss is preventable so I’m fully behind Specsavers.’
Andrew also tried out the Eye Pod, an interactive sight loss simulator funded by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Specsavers.
An eye for success
The Eye Pod demonstrates how the four main eye conditions (age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts) can affect your sight. The trailer has two cameras on top of the pod which link to screens inside where the public can view their surroundings with symptoms of each condition. In each case the experience lasts around one minute, with key facts and statistics about the condition then appearing on the screen.
The Eye Pod has been on tour around the UK as part of the Specsavers and RNIB Transforming eye health campaign
In addition to the new Preston Deepdale store, retail director Chris Shore and ophthalmic director Sean Buckley also own and run the Specsavers store in Preston, at 1 Friargate, as part of a joint venture partnership.
Chris said: ‘We are really proud of the new store and we enjoyed being able to celebrate with our staff and customers and, of course, local legend Freddie Flintoff. As well as offering the latest in optical technology I’ve no doubt that the store’s location in Sainsbury’s will provide a convenient option for local families and commuters.’
The new Specsavers store features the latest technology including Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which is usually found in hospital eye departments. The technology produces a very detailed picture of the eye that allows clinicians to identify signs of disease years earlier than traditional methods. OCT can be used to help screen for and manage conditions such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: ‘Sainsbury’s has been a part of the local community for a number of years and we are really thrilled to welcome Specsavers and its team to our store.'
The Deepdale store is open seven days a week and provides the same optical and hearing services experienced in other Specsavers, including eye examinations and hearing tests, contact lens fitting, and a range of affordable and designer glasses.
*Access Economics, 2009. Future sight loss UK: The economic impact of partial sight and blindness in the UK adult population. UK: RNIB