A NORTH Yorkshire optical assistant is preparing for a trip to a remote part of Africa to set up eye clinics.

The trip to Ethiopia, next month, will be the fourth made by Michele de Vaal, of East Witton, near Leyburn, who will lead a team of six Vision Aid Overseas volunteers.

The team will set up clinics, test eyes and dispense spectacles to local people.

Ms de Vaal, who works for Cowen and Morgan opticians, in Ripon, said the work would transform many people's lives.

"It is amazing how easily we take spectacles for granted in the UK," she said.

"Even if you are short-sighted or long-sighted, it is virtually impossible to consider your condition a disability.

"There are opticians on every high street in the country and almost nobody in the UK would ever go without.

"In Ethiopia, many people are severely disabled by poor eyesight and, once again, I am very excited about being given the opportunity to help these people."

For further information about Vision Aid Overseas, visit www.vao.org.uk