A SCHOOLBOY who lost one of his eyes to an aggressive cancer is using his role as an ambassador for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust to raise awareness of the importance of eye tests.

James Marshall of Prudhoe was diagnosed with retinoblastoma at just 20 months old, and his right eye, which was infected with a tumour, had to be removed to save his life.

Now 11-year-old James’s mum Julie Weatherly described him as ‘happy, healthy and positive’.

He is fully recovered and has annual monitoring at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to check the cancer hasn’t spread.

“Ten years on, James doesn’t let having only one functioning eye stop him from fulfilling his dreams of becoming a footballer,” explained Julie.

“He puts all of his time into enjoying the sport, and currently plays for the Heddon Juniors under 12s.”

But as well as his dedication to football, he also takes time through his ambassador role with the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) to raise awareness of retinoblastoma and the importance of people having eye tests.

He was the guest of honour at the official opening of the new Vision Express shop in the Metrocentre and cut the ribbon at the opening event.

The optician has been a charity partner of the cancer trust since 2010.

Julie added: “The partnership between Vision Express and CHECT makes everyone more aware of the importance of eye tests, especially with conditions as rare as retinoblastoma.

“The charity hold members events too and they have given James the chance to meet other children who have had their eyes removed, which is something he would never have experienced otherwise.”

Vision Express Metrocentre store manager, Janice Bainbridge, added: “It was brilliant to have James and his mum join us to officially declare our new store open.

“His story of overcoming adversity, despite the vision challenges he faces, is nothing short of inspirational.”