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Inspirational seven-year-old cancer survivor from Crawley is guest of honour at new store opening

A brave youngster who has battled a rare eye cancer helped Vision Express to re-open its East Grinstead store – raising awareness of an aggressive condition called retinoblastoma.

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Alicia Ferriera, centre with mum Laura, officially open the East Grinstead Vision Express store, with from left: Dispensing optician Jody Lewis, optical assistant Dan Morrissey, Monica Kalsi, optometrist and store manager Paul Lyne.

Alicia Ferriera, seven, from Crawley, West Sussex, was aged just two when she was diagnosed with the devastating condition, and had to have an eye removed as part of her cancer treatment.

Alicia Ferriera at the East Grinstead store.

Alicia was accompanied by her mother Laura Belton, to officially cut the ribbon at the Vision Express store in East Grinstead, West Sussex this month, as special guests from the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, which is a charity partner of Vision Express.

Mum Laura said:

“We found out that Alicia only had retinoblastoma in one eye and it wasn’t genetic. It all happened very quickly – she had the operation just a week after initial diagnosis.”

Since having her eye removed, the family have kept up regular appointments at The Royal London Hospital, initially every couple of months to now once a year for check-ups.

Laura said:

“Alicia is doing amazingly well and is just like other child at her age. She’s been doing karate for a year and a half now and is doing so well with it. She enjoys lots of walks, adventures and park trips and we’ve recently been to Cornwall where she was at the beach every day. Nothing will stop this girl!”

The ribbon cutting led by Alicia and Laura celebrated the Vision Express store’s recent extensive refit and marked the optician officially open to the public – in the same convenient location in London Road.

Vision Express East Grinstead store manager Paul Lyne added:

“It was brilliant to have Alicia and her mother Laura join us to officially declare our new store open. Her story of battling retinoblastoma, and the courage shown at such a young age, is an inspiration to us all.

“We’re proud to support the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust and we urge any parents that suspect retinoblastoma or notice any potential symptoms in their child, such as a white glow in their eye in certain lighting conditions or a squint, to visit their local opticians or GP.”

Business

What to expect when Primark reopens in Crawley in two weeks

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Primark is working re-open their stores on the 15th june and the store has been working hard to ensure their employee and customer safety is their highest priority.

So what can customers expect to find implemented when they reopen?

Social distancing:

There will be a limit on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for the appropriate distance in between customers and employees, following government guidelines.

There will be clear signage and floor decals, as well as dedicated employees and additional security staff, to guide customers through the store in a way that limits contact with others.

Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and between employees.

The store will temporarily close off fitting rooms and customer toilets.

Personal protection for employees and customers:

Hand sanitiser stations will be made available at the entrance and on the shop floor and back of house for employee and customer use. Face masks and gloves will be made available to all Primark employees.

Perspex screens have been installed on tills to protect customers and employees.

Increased in-store cleaning:

The frequency and rigour of store cleaning will increase, particularly around high frequency touchpoints such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas in back of house.

A basket cleaning system is also being introduced.

Primark CEO, Paul Marchant, said:

“As we re-open our stores in England, nothing matters more than the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers.

“We have really missed our customers and we are delighted to be back on 15 June and able to provide them with the quality, affordable products they love from Primark.

“We know that life for our customers is going to look different for a while. We want our stores to be safe and reassuring places to shop and work. While it might take a little longer to get into our stores, once inside, customers will find all their favourite Primark products and we have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancing.

“We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in the other markets in Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately.

“I would like to thank all of our colleagues and partners for the commitment, strength and resilience they have shown through these challenging times.”

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