AN OPTICIAN from Cockermouth has taken part in a project that brings better vision to disadvantaged people in Senegal.

Ann Morgan joined the SpecSort team which brought aid to 1411 people, including 1347 pairs of glasses.

SpecSort is a programme supported by Rotary York Ainsty who collect used spectacles to be repurposed and donated to those who need them most.

10 free eye clinics were ran at Tionk Essil and villages around Oussouye in the Casamance Delta region.

Clinics provided free eye tests to over 200 people on their busiest days, giving out a suitable pair of glasses that have been graded, cleaned and sorted.

Ann said: "It's amazing what a difference a pair of glasses can make, it might mean that someone like a tailor can keep doing the job as they get older whereas without glasses they would have to stop."

The same team visited last year and Ann was making her fourth trip having joined the campaign in 2014. She said: "I am privileged to be able to free up the time and have the finance to be able to do this sort of trip and whilst I'm in good health I should take the opportunity.

"A change is as good as a rest, whilst my trip wasn't a holiday, a break from normal routine is sometimes a good thing."

This time the team braved mangrove swamps and intense heat but they had the opportunity to see the wildlife of the area.

A spokesperson for SpecSort said: “We worked in churches, health centres and schools.”

Ann was sent to Senegal with the help of about £700 donated by staff and patients of Ann Morgan Opticians on Cleator Moor, High Street.

She said: "I am really thankful to all the people who donated, my staff and patients at work have been really generous." The money was able to fund the travel of the whole team around Senegal.

People of Senegal supported the project including pastor Marcel Diatta, brother of volunteer Gnolib. Marcel spent hours organising the programme, deciding which villages to visit and booking transport. Village elders acted as translators during eye clinics. Ann said: " Educated people spoke French, everyone else spoke a local language."