SPECSAVERS in Penarth is giving its backing to a charity that provides care, support and treatment to patients and their families in Wales who are dealing with cancer.

The opticians has named Velindre Cancer Centre as its national Charity of the Year for 2014. The partnership will see the Windsor Road store join other branches across mid and south Wales in hosting a series of fundraising events to support Velindre’s work in providing specialist cancer care to more than 1.5 million people in Wales.

It is the second year running that the stores have supported Velindre as an official fundraising partner.

Last year, Specsavers stores across Wales raised £7,000 for Velindre through a number of in-store events. Specsavers regional development manager, Paloma Burbidge, also took part in ‘Velindre’s Trek of a Lifetime’, joining a team led by comedian Rhod Gilbert and Wales rugby legend Martyn Williams, in trekking 19,340ft to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Fundraising culminated in the first ever Specsavers Stiletto Strolls, which were launched in Cardiff by BBC One Show presenter Alex Jones. The campaign saw a number of Specsavers stores organise a short walk, or stroll, around their local community in aid of breast cancer research at Velindre during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Head of Fundraising at Velindre, Andrew Morris, said: “We were delighted to work with Specsavers last year and we enjoyed a very beneficial partnership generated by the support and commitment of Specsavers staff. We are looking to increase events and activities this year and together continue to raise even more funds so we can continue to support cancer patients and their families in Wales, as we strive to achieve Victory over Cancer.”

Velindre Cancer Centre is the largest non-surgical cancer Hospital in Wales providing radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other specialised anti-cancer treatments for over half the people of Wales. It has been providing support and care to cancer patients in south Wales for over 50 years and, on average, it provides care, treatment and support for over 130,000 outpatients and day cases every year.

Specsavers Penarth director, Pauline O’Neill, said: “We’re delighted to once again support Velindre as an official fundraising partner.

“Last year we were able to raise a fantastic amount, which was down to the hard work of staff in all our stores, but also because of the great cause that everyone knew the money would go towards.

“This year, we’re aiming to raise even more money for Velindre, and we’re already planning activities to help us achieve that. Unfortunately, many of our staff and customers will be touched by cancer at some point and, as a community opticians, we’re keen to get involved in as much fundraising activity as possible to make a real difference to the patients Velindre cares for every single day.”