OT is sad to report the death of optometrist Roger Leech (pictured), senior partner of F. Robson & Co Ophthalmic Opticians, in Newcastle city centre, who died recently at the age of 87.
After demobbing from the army, Mr Leech studied engineering at Cambridge University, graduating in 1951. His uncles, Percy and Douglas Young, already second-generation opticians at F. Robson & Co, suggested optics as a career.
Mr Leech studied for his diploma in ophthalmic optics at Northampton Polytechnic, now City University London.
After qualifying in 1954, Mr Leech joined his uncles in their practices. He was an enthusiastic fitter of contact lenses and meetings of the North East Contact Lens Society were held at F. Robson & Co because it was one of few practices in the area to have a slit lamp at that time.
Alongside his wife Jane, Mr Leech was also involved in rigid lens manufacturing when Norcon Laboratories in Newcastle was established, just at the time that soft lenses took off.
The business also had a practice in Edinburgh, John Trotter & Co Ophthalmic Opticians, which is now part of Black & Lizars.
Mr Leech would divide his time between the two practices and was instrumental in the move to the practice’s current location on Edinburgh’s prestigious George Street, as well as its design.
Two of Mr Leech’s children followed in his footsteps and still work in the practices.
Mr Leech stepped back from patient care when he turned 70, but he was still very involved in the practice until recently.
He suffered from dry and wet age-related macular degeneration, but multiple lucentis injections preserved his sight, and that, combined with recent cataract surgery, meant he retained useful vision.
Mr Leech’s daughter, Eleanor Leech, told OT: “My dad never lost his interest in, nor love of, optics, becoming a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers and reading trade magazines and journals until his last hospital admission.”
Mr Leech leaves behind his wife Jane, three children and six grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all.