A team of twenty-two colleagues from Specsavers – including Lerwick store director Thomas Bruin - competed in the 2017 Great Ethiopian Run to raise funds for charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO).

The team raised more than £57,000 and Thomas contributed over £3,000 to the grand total.

They joined 44,000 other runners in Addis Ababa for the world’s highest altitude 10,000m road race. The event was started in 2001 by former athlete and current president of the athletics federation, Haile Gebreselassie.

The team ran in aid of VAO to help the charity provide sustainable African eyecare that improves the lives of people with poor eyesight, particularly where eye tests and glasses can help.

All of the Specsavers team who signed up qualified for company sponsorship, with the first £1,000 of the £2,600 minimum donation per runner donated by the optical group.

Amazing experience

Thomas Bruin, store director at Specsavers Lerwick, said: ‘The conditions on the run were tough due to the extreme altitude but with the support of fellow runners and the cheer of the crowd, it was an amazing experience.

‘I’m delighted to have raised a grand total of £3,016 for Vision Aid Overseas with a few final donations to collect. Thanks to everyone for their generosity and a big congratulations to my fellow Specsavers colleagues who also completed the run.’

A big thank you

VAO Director of Fundraising & Communications, Andy Holliday, said: ‘The Great Ethiopian Run was a fantastic experience for all of us who took part. The Specsavers team were so enthusiastic and such great fun to be with and the money they all raised, and are still raising, will help VAO to change the lives of some of the worlds most marginalised people through the provision of good sight.

'Many thanks again to all who took part and to all their sponsors!’

About Vision Aid Overseas 

VAO has been Specsavers international eye care charity since 2008.

The group has raised over £600,000 for Zambian eye care including an optometry technologists training course at the Chainama College of Health Sciences in Lusaka, ten staffed vision centres across Zambia and a national eyecare outreach programme.

As well as direct donations and fundraising in stores, Specsavers customers can responsibly dispose of unwanted glasses to any Specsavers. VAO then recycles these frames and monies are raised from the sale of precious metals.

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