A Blackburn optician is putting her best foot forward for charity with a gruelling trio of fundraising runs, culminating with next year’s iconic London Marathon.

A keen runner, Amy Leeming, aged 27, a lab technician at Blackburn Specsavers in the Lord Street Mall, set herself the target of raising £1,500 for Vision Aid Overseas (VAO).

For a great cause

The charity, supported by Specsavers, is dedicated to fighting poverty by transforming access to eye care in developing countries. Its efforts to help the world’s poorest communities to see clearly include giving people badly-needed eye tests and treatment, as well as training up local optometrists.

Amy’s first challenge sees her run the Accrington 10k on Sunday, 26 October. After that, she lines up for the Inskip half marathon on 18 January 2015 before stepping up her training for the pinnacle of her challenge, the London Marathon on 26 April.

Thanks to generous donations from family, friends and local Specsavers customers, Amy has already raised £186 ahead of the run, and is hoping the Blackburn community will get behind her.

On the move

Amy, who lives in Accrington with her partner Martin and 14-month-old daughter Erin, said: ‘I do enjoy running for fun but only took part in my first ever official distance event earlier this year so getting ready for another three runs is quite daunting but very exciting.

‘Everyone talks about how amazing the London Marathon experience is so I honestly can’t wait, plus I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to help raise money for this great cause.

‘I’ve worked for Specsavers in Blackburn now for nine years and Vision Aid Overseas is one of the key charities that we support. I am trying to spread awareness because our eyesight is so important and sometimes we take it for granted.

‘Millions of people in developing countries are not as fortunate as we are and don’t have access to optical care such as cataract operations, eye health care, sight test, and glasses. Vision Aid Overseas makes this possible.’

Fighting poverty

Specsavers has channelled more than £800,000 into VAO’s work in Zambia. It has helped to open a vision centre in eight of the country’s provinces and supported the opening of the country's first optometry training centre. Specsavers’ partnership with VAO has allowed 85,000 people to receive eyecare in Zambia.

Stuart Ingleby, director of the two Specsavers stores in Blackburn, said: ‘The whole team at Blackburn Specsavers is behind Amy’s training and very proud of her excellent fundraising.

‘She’s been incredibly dedicated to her training so I’m sure she’ll do brilliantly.

How you can help

We’ve had an overwhelming charitable response to our VAO spectacle donation campaign in store thanks to the wonderful generosity of local Specsavers customers so please do visit Amy’s JustGiving page and give what you can to the excellent charity. Good luck Amy!’

To sponsor Amy visit her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/amy-leeming27/

You can find more information about Vision Aid Overseas here.

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