Harry Daile

Former AOP chairman and sight loss campaigner Harry Daile dies at the age of 103

Harry Daile

OT is sad to report the death of former AOP chairman, Harry Daile, who has died at the age of 103.

Mr Daile was AOP chairman from 1970–71 and was proud to be awarded honourary membership of the association.

An orphan who was born in London, Mr Daile had trained to be an optometrist whilst working full-time and studying in the evenings.

He developed glaucoma in his 50s and had a number of operations but eventually lost his sight and retired in his 70s. In his 80s, he realised there was not a support group for blind and visually impaired people in his area, so he started one.

Mr Daile’s daughter, Tessa Ashley, paid tribute to her father: “Born in the East End of London on May 7, 1912, the child of Romanian immigrants, my father was orphaned at the age of 12.

“He couldn't afford to go to university to train to be a doctor but could get optical qualifications in evening classes, so he worked a full time job then walked to evening class as he couldn't afford the bus fare.  

“Having dedicated his life to the visual health of the working man, ironically my father contracted glaucoma and had lost some sight by the time it was diagnosed. He underwent several operations, and after one went wrong, lost the sight in his left eye completely.  He worked until he was 70 and only stopped then because of his sight problems.

“When he was 80, he realised there was no support group for the blind or visually impaired locally, so he started one. It is still going strong 23 years later.

“My father was proud to be awarded honoury membership of the AOP and the framed certificate hung on a wall in his home until his death. In 1986 he was also awarded a Foundation Fellowship of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians, which later became the College of Optometrists.

“My mother died three years ago at the age of 97 which was not old, according to my father. They had been married for 72 years.

“My father was a very intelligent man who was strong all his life and he never took the easy road, only the one he thought was right.”