A NEW optician has joined the fold at Thornbury’s shopping centre.

The slightly depleted town centre welcomed new traders on Monday as Specsavers opened a branch on St Mary’s Parade. Boasting two testing rooms, digital retinal photography, a contact lens area and showcasing more than 1,000 frames, the brand new store will also provide a special lab service previously delivered at the Bradley Stoke shop.

Although launched on Monday, this Saturday (Jan 26) will mark the official inauguration of the opticians.

Its team will hold a "party day" during which they will carry out specs MOTs in exchange for a donation to the Guide Dogs charity. Over the next few days, Specsavers will also offer townspeople free eye tests.

The shop, which created seven jobs in the town, is run by directors Ed Stanleigh and Vivek Lakhanpaul, who share 28 years’ experience between them. They have been in charge of the Bradley Stoke Specsavers branch for three years.

Mr Stanleigh said: "We’re really looking forward to welcoming people through the doors and hope that they will take advantage of the free sight test offer."

While Mr Stanleigh and Mr Lakhanpaul will be responsible for the store, manager Claire Stones, who was formerly the assistant manager at Bradley Stoke, will oversee its day to day running.