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Lions attempt world record for longest chain of spectacles

Lions Tony House, President Keith McLeod and Gordon Lee

FROMELions are taking part in a record-breaking attempt to collect 50,000 pairs of glasses to help others in need abroad.

With the help of Frome Selwood Rotary, Lions of area 105W, which covers mid-Wales to Frome, are attempting to break the world record for the longest chain of spectacles, which according to the Guinness Book of World Records currently stands at 16,530 pairs, equalling approximately a mile and a quarter long.

The ambitious Lions are aiming to collect 50,000 pairs, which could equal over six miles long. The record attempt has been thought up to help promote a campaign called SightFirst organised by Lions International.

Frome Lions began collecting glasses earlier this year, with Frome Selwood Rotary helping to expand the scheme throughout Frome more recently. They have so far received 6,000 pairs of glasses from the community, weighing nearly half a tonne.

It took project lead and Lions member Tony House and a team of people nearly six hours to sort through the pairs. “Lions and Rotary thank the Frome businesses for enabling these collections and the people of this area for their generosity and donations of their unwanted glasses,” said Tony in response to the donations.

With a target of 50,000 pairs, the team have a long way to go and are relying on the community to support the scheme and the world record attempt. “Please, we urge you, dig out your old spectacles and drop them in one of our collection bins,” said Tony.

Collection boxes for the scheme can be found in the following places around Frome: Boots, Dorothy House, Eyetech, O’Toid Opticians on the bridge, the Cheese and Grain and the Health Centre.

“We especially thank Specsavers for re-joining our scheme, but urge donors to use the collection bins at all these locations,” said Tony.

The Lions International SightFirst scheme sends recycled glasses to many countries around the world including Chile where children working in the salt mines benefit from donated pairs of sunglasses. They also send spectacles to countries like Africa and India where they can be used in educational settings.

No donations are wasted, with any glasses deemed unsuitable being used in other charitable ways. Gold is recovered from any unusable frames and converted into money. Last year the gold recovered with donations from across the UK equalled £27,000, which was given to the SightFirst campaign.  In Frome any unrequired cases are donated to Dorothy House and sold as recyclable plastic to support the work that they do.