Edinburgh man lost glasses while paddle boarding during wedding anniversary staycation - but Specsavers optician drove 156 miles to give him a new pair

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An Edinburgh man lost his glasses while paddleboarding during his 30th wedding anniversary staycation - but the holiday was saved by an optician who travelled 156 miles just to give him a new pair.

John Saunderson’s celebrations were cut short when he lost his spectacles falling off the board on Loch Tay during the trip to Kenmore, Perthshire, with his wife and family.

Losing the glasses meant they would be unable to take part in the rest of their planned activities and he could not drive home without them.

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But John phoned up his regular optician at Specsavers Gyle for advice and a trainee dispensing optician, Kaylie Tester, made the 156-mile round trip to deliver the replacement pair in a journey which took more than four hours in late August.

John Saunderson and his family.John Saunderson and his family.
John Saunderson and his family.

John, a 53-year-old butcher from the Capital, said: “I’ve worn glasses since I was 12 years old, so it never occurred to me that I should’ve taken them off before my first attempt at paddle boarding. Unfortunately, like many a beginner before me, I lost my balance, my paddle went up in the air and I went into the water.

“During the tumble and the immediate shock of hitting the freezing cold water of the loch, I soon realised my glasses were no longer on my head and I was unable to retrieve them due to the depth of the water and being hindered by the life jacket I was wearing. After making it back onto dry land, it soon dawned on me that I wasn’t able to make the long drive home to Edinburgh without my specs.”

Champagne and chocolates

John said when he spoke to the store’s optical assistant, Sophie, to explain his predicament she were very understanding and told him they would be able to arrange for new glasses to be delivered directly.

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John continued: “I couldn’t believe that they were willing to travel that distance to make sure I got replacement glasses, especially as I had lost them when I should have known better. I was willing to pay for a courier but they insisted that they would make the journey themselves.

“Later that evening the doorbell rang and Kaylie from Specsavers Gyle was on the steps with replacement frames, which were a perfect fit. We gave her a box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne in thanks for going out her way for me.

“Those replacement frames allowed me to enjoy the rest of our staycation – without them I couldn’t see distances beyond 6ft. After that I kept to long walks with the dog. If I ever attempt paddle boarding again then I’ll be sure to get contact lenses from Specsavers.”

Specsavers stores have been recognised as an essential healthcare provider by the Scottish Government.

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This means that Specsavers will stay open to the public and offer a full breadth of optical and audiology services to the local community.

Home eye examinations for people with a physical or mental disability who are unable to leave their home are also available through Specsavers’ home visit teams.

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