A NEWPORT woman who put her optical career on hold to move to the Middle East has been reunited with former colleagues as she becomes store manager at a local opticians.

Donna Fowler, 49, first joined Specsavers Newport 16 years ago as a part-time optical assistant.

The mother-of-two rose through the ranks to become store manager in 2010.

However, two years later she and her family moved to Saudi Arabia for her husband’s job and she worked as a PA to the principal of the British International School for the following six years.

The family returned in 2018 and Mrs Fowler has now taken a full-time role with Specsavers, which has in the meantime moved to Friars Walk. She will be managing a team of more than 50 people.

Donna said: "When I heard there was a vacancy in-store I jumped at the opportunity.

"There are still a number of familiar faces, including some who trained me when I was starting out, making this feel like a 'homecoming' of sorts.

"Despite that, it’s amazing to see how much has changed since I left. The Friars Walk store is impressive and highlights how much Specsavers has grown since I first joined 16 years ago.

"I know my role will be demanding, but with a team of excellent colleagues – both those I’ve worked with before as well as new staff – it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to."

Jason Williams, store director, said: "Donna was highly regarded and a friendly face for customers for a long time. I am confident she will be able to pick up where she left off and do an excellent job at our Friars Walk store."