Belfast optometrist Frank Petticrew this week travelled to London to receive his award of Life Fellowship of the College of Optometrists for his worldwide contribution to complex contact lens fitting.
Frank (77) said, ‘I am humbled by the company I am in when being given this award, when hearing the contribution other recipients have made. This award is made all the more touching as it is recognition by our peers and colleagues.’
Frank’s son Andrew Petticrew who is now running the fourth generation family practice commented, ‘I watch with amusement at the mix of pride and embarrassment I see in my dad at getting Life Fellowship, which is a pretty big deal in the world of UK optometry. When hearing about the sheer volume of work my father has put into educating students, educating optometrists, developing contact lens technologies and most of all, helping his patients, I realise that he has done a lot of work that I wasn’t even aware of!’
At the presentation ceremony in Westminster Hall, Frank was asked to respond on behalf of the recipients, including the newly qualified optometrists from throughout the UK as well as further afield. He made a number of elegantly simple points including the importance of recognising that the new blood are the future of our profession and should be encouraged at every opportunity. He stressed that embracing technology, embracing education and to make time to talk to colleagues of a different generation is vital for development of our skills.
Frank continued, ‘The older members can learn from the younger members and the younger from the older. It is only sitting down together that we can all work together to improve the care we give our patients.’
With this award joining other from the Association of Optical Practitioners and the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists, Frank has shown us what community optometrists in Northern Ireland can achieve.
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