Seeing clearly in the Philipines thanks to Hartlepool supporters

Ian Walker (Director of Specsavers) gives a donation of spectacles to Michael Stalley. Picture by Frank Reid
Ian Walker (Director of Specsavers) gives a donation of spectacles to Michael Stalley. Picture by Frank Reid

Needy people living thousands of miles away will soon be able to see clearly thanks to the support of Specsavers in Hartlepool.

Ex-pat Michael Stalley, who lives the Philippines received about 100 pairs of reading glasses from the Middleton Grange store on his last visit to his hometown.

Michael helps a man trying a pair of glasses on.

Michael helps a man trying a pair of glasses on.

It is part of work that ex-serviceman Michael and a group of friends have been doing to help those in need for a number of years.

Michael said: “After leaving the service I worked with the UN in various conflict regions and seen at first hand so many in need.

“Whilst living in the Philippines sadly I see every day so many who need help in kind so around eight years ago myself and a few friends set up a group to help the needy in kind only, no money is involved.

“Each year I visit my hometown and whilst here with help we collect items to send back to the Philippines, such as schools supplies, pens, and toys.

Michael with a batch of donations.

Michael with a batch of donations.

“Over the past few years we have been collecting reading glasses with the help of good people in Hartlepool such as Bill Reid at the shoe repair shop in the town shopping centre who put me in touch with Specsavers and the area director Ian Walker who donated around 80 pairs of reading glasses which are now on their way to London ready for shipping to the Philippines.”

Specsavers collects old glasses which it gives to various good causes and Mr Walker said he was happy to help Michael.

He said: “There is quite a lot of value in old spectacles. It is much better that they go to help someone rather than being binned and ending up in landfill.”

People can leave their old glasses at Specsavers any time.

Michael and some of the people he helps.

Michael and some of the people he helps.

Bill Reid of the First Class kiosk collects and stores glasses for Michael while an old army friend who lives in Crook, County Durham supports his work.

A pal from the Philippines who works in London as a nurse ships all the items from the capital to Michael and the team helping to save on costs.

Trying on some of the donated glasses.

Trying on some of the donated glasses.