Opticians help raise £73k to help Scotland’s premature and sick babies

Specsavers customers in Ellon and Inverurie have played a crucial role in raising £73,000 to help Scotland’s premature and sick babies, supporting an initiative launched last year by the opticians alongside Lady Sarra Hoy.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 7:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 7:56 am
From left: Sophie O'Kane, Michael O'Kane, Lady Sarra Hoy, Prof Ben Stenson. (Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography)
From left: Sophie O'Kane, Michael O'Kane, Lady Sarra Hoy, Prof Ben Stenson. (Photo: Colin Hattersley Photography)

The funds have been donated to Simpsons Special Care Babies to buy a cutting-edge piece of equipment called a PanoCam Pro for the Simpson Neonatal Unit in Edinburgh.

Premature babies need their eyes checked regularly due to rapid changes in organ development, in what would have been the last three months of pregnancy, which can put them under a lot of stress – the PanoCam provides a much quicker and safer way to examine them.

The stores in Ellon and Inverurie agreed to donate £2 from optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans – which can help detect treatable eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and glaucoma – carried out at the end of last year.

Jill McArthur, retail director at Specsavers said: “We were inspired to do our bit for this amazing fundraiser after hearing the inspiring story of one of our colleagues in Scotland whose daughter was born at 24 weeks weighing just 1lb 15oz, and beat the odds thanks to the support of the neonatal unit.

“We are proud that the funds generated here between the stores, with help from our customers, will help to bring this cutting-edge equipment to a unit that helps babies from all over the country.”

When Specsavers Scotland launched the fundraiser in autumn 2021, it was part of a dual announcement which saw Bliss Scotland designated as the opticians’ Charity of the Year, to generate additional funds to support Scotland’s premature babies and their families.

Lending support at the launch announcement was Bliss ambassador Lady Sarra Hoy, a lawyer by profession and wife of cycling champion sir Chris Hoy, whose son Callum was born at 29 weeks back in 2014.

She said: “It’s so rewarding for everyone involved to be able to see the reality of their donation, which will have a direct impact and positive outcome on babies and their families.”