Local man Padraig Rea has been announced as a regional finalist in Specsavers’ annual Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition.
The 28-year-old was presented with a bottle of champagne, a certificate and a £150 Specsavers voucher, by Specsavers Craigavon store director, JP Rice.
Padraig, who lives in Lurgan, was voted as a winner in the Northern Ireland 25-34 age category.
He will now go forward to the next round of judging, competing against finalists from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales for a place in the prestigious final, where one overall winner will walk away with a cash prize of £10,000 and the coveted title Spectacle Wearer of the Year 2017.
Padraig said: “Being shortlisted as a regional finalist came as a complete shock to me. It was my partner who nominated me for the competition, but I’m delighted she did.
“I’ve been wearing glasses for the past 15 years, since my early teens. It was while I was involved with my school football team as a goalkeeper at the age of 13 that I first realised that I needed glasses. Now, my glasses are very much a part of me and have evolved as my style has over the years.
“I’m thrilled to get to this stage of the competition and would like to wish every other regional finalist the best of luck.”
Now in its 22nd year, the competition will give regional finalists from five age categories: 16-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-59 and over 60s, plus a Facebook favourite voted by the public – the opportunity to attend a star-studded awards ceremony at London’s 8 Northumberland Avenue on October 10, which will be hosted by former Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle.
Anti-bullying charity Kidscape is set to benefit from the awards as Specsavers donates £1 for each entry made.
Funds raised will support the charity in providing training, support and advice for children, parents, schools and those who may be impacted by bullying. The competition has raised more than £400,000 for Kidscape over the past six years.