A colourful collection of 1980s Anglo American frames sourced from the Raven Trust

As I was saying last week, one of the good things about Dead Men’s Spex is the interesting people we meet. A few weeks ago, Darren and I went to Essex to visit Sue and John Kevan who run Focus on Malawi – The Raven Trust.


This is a wonderful little charity which provides eyecare in Malawi where eyecare is virtually non-existent. In 2005, The Raven Trust started providing help, their focus is on supporting the local community hospitals to set up and maintain eye care clinics. They now have three clinics in mission hospitals in Northern Malawi, the trust supplies equipment, and also provides training and mentoring to support local Malawian clinicians.

The trust mainly consists of Sue’s colleagues, all who work in eyecare. They give very generously of their time and skills and travel to Malawi to test people’s eyes etc in their own time. It’s a very impressive organisation, they just quietly and calmly get on with providing eye care to people who otherwise would not have it.

We got to know about The Raven Trust in 2020 when Sue contacted us asking if we would be interested in buying some vintage glasses. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Darren said yes, and we went down to Colchester and had some lovely homemade scones in their garden in compliance with the lock down rules of the time, luckily it was a nice day. This was the start of a great relationship which has provided us with some great frames and some lovely friends.

Our recent visit to Colchester was great as we hadn’t seen Sue and John for a while, and of course we were treated to more of Sue’s lovely cooking including  scones and pizza, she also introduced us to the joys of an air fryer! I was impressed with how nicely it cooked frozen garlic bread in an instant. I may have to invest in one.

Sue and John had been keeping a box of vintage frames for us, they had even moved house with it! They know what we like now, and provide us with some lovely frames, including the selection in the photo of Anglo American frames from the 1980s. These were all glazed with similar prescriptions,strongly suggesting that they had one careful (and stylish) lady owner. I love the range of colours, she must have had one pair for each outfit. I remember being like that in the 1980s, carefully coordinating my shoes, belts and earrings to my outfits, unlike Darren, I didn’t need glasses in my twenties.

We are happy that some of our spare optical equipment comes in very handy to The Raven Trust, we had been hanging on to two frame heaters for them which, as luck would have it, were just what they needed to join other equipment in a consignment to Malawi. The Raven Trust collects nonprescription sunglasses and true vintage frames to generate vital funds for the Trust, so we are sure to have another trip down there at some time soon (we also have more test room equipment for them). They are such lovely people and we really enjoy visiting them.

If you would like to support a small charity where a little donation goes a long way please consider our friends at the Raven Trust

Livingstonia eye clinic


Have a good week, Claire AKA Mrs Deadman.