Ninety of the best

The regional group celebrates 90 years on the High Street

Leightons party

Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care celebrated its 90th anniversary in style with employees, suppliers and guests this month.

Over 260 staff members came together for an all-day event on Saturday 3 February at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton to celebrate 90 years in business.

Reflecting on the event, chief executive Ryan Leighton told OT: "We wanted to create a mix of education across the product groups. We deliver on our purpose of helping people to see and to hear and live life to the full, and to achieve this everyone needs to understand all products and services."

"At the event, optometrists, dispensing opticians, optical hearing assistants and audiologists all attended sessions delivered by our sponsors to provide knowledge and understanding of how the different product groups and services can help people," he added.

A range of education sessions were delivered during the event, including seminars from title sponsors Oticon, Hoya and CooperVision.

During the training day, Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care’s chair, Richard Leighton, presented Brian Punter, a member of the company’s mobile team, with a silver rose bowl, in appreciation of his service as a dispensing optician in the company for over 46 years.

Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care

Glittering Gala

The evening saw the Leightons Opticians & Hearing Care employees come together for a 1920s themed gala dinner.

Addressing guests, Ryan Leighton recounted his grandfather, Henry Oscar Leightons’ first week in practice. 

“It was the 19 February 1928, and no one came in,” he told laughing guests.

It was not until the fifth day that the optician’s first patient, Lucy Stephens, entered the practice, he added.

Paying for her pair of spectacles with a gold sovereign, Ryan Leighton revealed that his grandfather and father had kept the coin for posterity, saying: “All the great things we have done have come from that gold sovereign.”

Modernisation came in many forms, Mr Leighton explained to guests, from the “massive decision to employ optometrists many years ago,” to key infrastructure upgrades such as “inside toilets and air-conditioning.”

Paying tribute to the work of his father, Leightons’ chair Richard Leighton, Ryan Leighton told the guests the “one thing that has remained consistent is my dad’s culture of care.”

Pointing to the continuing drive for innovation, Ryan Leighton noted that the Hearing Care Partnership represented “a new growth shoot” that reflects the company’s motto of “helping patients to live life to the full.”

In closing, the chief executive encouraged guests to follow developments in artificial intelligence and augmented reality, saying: “Change is going to happen, and we need to embrace that change.”