A star in their eyes...

by Katie Baldwin

COUNTDOWN presenter Richard Whiteley’s trademark glasses are helping people see again in Ethiopia.

His partner Kathryn Apanowicz said the late broadcaster would have been “cock-a-hoop” to know his famed specs were helping people in Africa.

Ms Apanowicz made the comments in a film which shows how three pairs of the TV presenter’s specs have improved lives.

The BBC documentary on TV tonight shows how one pair fitted the prescription of a tailor called Adam who has 13 children but could not thread a needle until he was given Whiteley’s glasses.

Another pair is given to 15-year-old Tablet, letting her see the blackboard at her school.

The final set of Whiteley’s glasses are matched with a teacher called Muligator who can continue working now he can read his books.

Watching the reaction of the trio at her home in North Yorkshire, Ms Apanowicz is shown wiping away tears.

“That’s amazing. That’s fantastic,” she said.

“With the teacher and words – he was a wordsmith himself.

“That’s just wonderful.”

Laughing at the picture of Whiteley which Adam has on a wall, Ms Apanowicz said: “People wouldn’t have known who the heck he is but his memory lives on.”

The eye tests and the matching of Whiteley’s glasses in Ethiopia was done by the charity Vision Aid Overseas which said there were 1,000,000 blind people in the country and 4,000,000 with eye problems.

Ms Apanowicz said: “He’d be absolutely cock-a-hoop because it’s such a simple idea.

“We actually donated his eyes to help people through getting corneal transplants and now we’re giving his glasses.

“I’m sure he’ll be there think-ing ’blimey, that’s a good idea’.”

Whiteley died in 2005 at the age of 61.

l Inside Out is on BBC1 tonight at 7.30pm.