Specsavers spectacular

Organisers with some of the choir who sang before the balloon release at St Paul's Pitch Taghnevan sponsored by Specsavers in aid of Angel Eyes. INLM2612-916jm
Organisers with some of the choir who sang before the balloon release at St Paul's Pitch Taghnevan sponsored by Specsavers in aid of Angel Eyes. INLM2612-916jm

CRAIGAVON Specsavers store thought they may need an eye test themselves when they stumbled across a host of angels in the Craigavon area, only to discover that it was the committee from the Angel Eyes NI Charity.

Specsavers Craigavon has teamed up with the charity to help blind and partially sighted children across Northern Ireland.

The balloon release at St Paul's Pitch Taghnevan with William Armstrong from sponsor's Specsavers. INLM2612-917jm

The balloon release at St Paul's Pitch Taghnevan with William Armstrong from sponsor's Specsavers. INLM2612-917jm

Last Saturday, the Specsavers store in Craigavon, paired up with local parent Ashlene Chambers who organised a family fun day to raise money for the charity. Ashlene’s daughter Amber is visually impaired and Angel Eyes has given her family phenomenal support over the past few years.

Ashlene decided to organise a balloon race event at St Paul’s GAA after seeing a presentation by the Angel Eyes group at her five-year-old daughter’s school, St Anthony’s, back in October 2011.

The presentation helped to raise awareness in the school among the children and parents about the importance of eyecare and the effects that impaired vision can have on a child’s life. Ashlene believes the presentation by Angel Eyes has raised awareness within the community enormously over the last few months and, as a result, Ashlene has been actively encouraging fundraising efforts for the Angel Eyes Charity.

Ashlene commented: “Angel Eyes NI has not only helped us through the many appointments we have had to attend over the years, but the group has also put us in touch with other parents and families experiencing the same things as we are.

Minnie Mouse with Shea (3) Caolan(6) and Michael McAliskey (8) at St Paul's Pitch Taghnevan for the balloon release sponsored by Specsavers in aid of Angle eyes. INLM2612-918jm

Minnie Mouse with Shea (3) Caolan(6) and Michael McAliskey (8) at St Paul's Pitch Taghnevan for the balloon release sponsored by Specsavers in aid of Angle eyes. INLM2612-918jm

“Angel Eyes helps to inform parents about education, expectations and aspirations and works to ensure parents receive the support they need to bring up their visually impaired child. It is a charity that is very close to my heart as my daughter Amber is visually impaired, and they have supported my whole family every step of the way.”

The event on Saturday involved a number of family activities such as face painting, balloon modelling, performances by a local dance group as well as a music folk group and St Anthony’s School choir. Perhaps the most impressive part of the day however, was when the families released 2,000 balloons into the air to mark the beginning of their ‘balloon race’. The winner of the race will be announced on July 21 at a fundraising event at The Stables, Craigavon. This allows the balloons a whole month to be tracked on their travels in order to determine the ultimate winner.

Eamonn Murray, director optician at the Specsavers store in Craigavon, emphasised the importance of monitoring your child’s sight: “If you notice a sudden change in your own or your child’s vision, it is important that you make an appointment with your local optician. Lots of useful information can be gathered during an eye test. 

“At Specsavers we like to make the eye examination as fun and as interesting for young people as possible. 

“Different letter and picture charts are used, and quite often little lights are shone into the eyes for an eye health and prescription check. Specsavers recommends that you have your eyes tested every two years.”

To book an appointment call Specsavers, Craigavon on 3834 5688.

All of the money raised from both Saturday’s family fun day and the black tie event next month will be donated to Angel Eyes NI.

Tickets for the event can be purchased directly from The Stables, by calling, 3832 3974.