Celebrated film and TV actor Art Malik was in Manchester to support a charity that provides free eye care and eye treatment in Pakistan.

The Graham Layton Trust held their annual Ramadan Iftar at Manchester’s Vermillion Restaurant. As well as Trustees guests heard (via a live Skype call) from Fatima in Karachi about how the had charity changed her life

The Graham Layton Trust is a UK based and was founded by ex-British military officer Graham Layton in 1984. The late philanthropist, industrialist and decorated officer wanted to give something back to the country that had been good to him and where he had made his own fortune.

He set up The Graham Layton Trust in the UK, to fund eye care for the poor in Pakistan. The organisation has treated over an incredible 40 million patients thus far.

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Speaking to us on the night Art Malik said, “My job requires people to see. Yes, I do voiceovers and I do theatre but my job requires people to see. When it became apparent there was this charity – my father was an eye surgeon, he was involved in the charity when he retired back in the eighties – it was important for me to get involved.

“I am honoured not only to be involved in the charity but also be a trustee. I have been to Pakistan and I have seen the work that we do. It is extraordinary that we take care of one out every three eye patients and we do it for free.

“We had a very good Iftar dinner in London and we raised a lot of money and we want to do this again.”

Speaking of the need to support charities such as the Graham Layton Trust for the work they do in Pakistan.

“Graham Layton was a Brit who went to Pakistan and stayed on after Independence. He was very much involved in construction work.

“Here was a man who found his love which was Pakistan. He actually became a Pakistani. He wanted to give something back.

“We are a non-political organisation. We are purely here for one reason only - Eyesight is curable in the majority of cases. It requires very very little. 

He added, “I have been acting for 40 odd years so it is rather nice to be able to give back. If I can come up here and tell people about the charity and do my bit – what’s the worst that can happen – someone can ask for a selfie!”

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The Graham Layton Trust (GLT) was founded in the same year (1984) as the Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) itself in order to provide crucial financial support from the outset.

LRBT hospitals and medical staff have an internationally renowned reputation for quality of service and impact on community. The equipment used in the hospitals is internationally recognised as state-of-the-art, reflecting the determination of the founders to provide first-class treatment to all.

The same level of care and attention is available to all patients, rich and poor, young and old, men, women and children on a first come first serve basis. There is no discrimination on grounds of religion, gender, class or ethnicity – free diagnosis and treatment is available for all.

Trustee, Nusrat Mirza said, “I think essentially we all value our sight. There was some research where people said they would much rather have a shorter life where they can see than a longer life which is sightless.

“Sight is something we take for granted but it is so important. And restoring someone’s sight restores more than just their sight – it gives them a chance to become productive and independent members of their society and their community.

“So, it is our privilege and honour to be able to help people in this small way.

“Everyone can do that. To restore someone’s sight costs as little as £23 – which is really a very small sum for most of us here in the west.”

You can find out more about the work of the charity here