Obituary: Howard Bainbridge

Described as “totally dedicated to the profession,” the optical technician and practice director with a near 70-year career in optics has died at the age of 83

Howard Bainbridge

Tributes have been paid to optical technician and practice director, Howard Bainbridge, who died on 21 June at the age of 83.

Bainbridge’s career in optics spanned almost 70 years, having joined Cooper and Leatherbarrow Opticians in Darlington as a 15-year-old apprentice in 1953, where he trained under the grandfather of the practice’s current managing director.

The optical technician and practice director spent much of his career in the practice workshop hand-designing, manufacturing and fixing spectacles, working into his 80s before officially retiring in October 2020.

Bainbridge was admitted to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers in 1995, through which he was made a Freeman of the City of London.

Managing director of Cooper and Leatherbarrow Opticians, Ellis Leatherbarrow, gave tribute:

“We are all devastated by the news of Howard’s passing, and on behalf of Cooper and Leatherbarrow Opticians, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to Margaret, Sarah, Clare and their family.

“Howard was an incredibly popular member of our team and our patients will, I’m sure, remember him as the gentleman that he was.

“To all of us at the practice, Howard was our rock and a massive figure in all of our lives. To me, he was a mentor, business partner and godfather to my daughter but, above all, he was a true friend. He lived and breathed this company for almost 70 years; he was totally dedicated to the profession and you could always rely on him.

“Howard was enjoying a much-deserved retirement after a wonderful career, so I’m thankful that he was able to spend more time with his family in the past few months, and our thoughts will continue to be with his loved ones during this time.”

Bainbridge is survived by Margaret, his wife of 58 years, daughters Sarah and Clare, son-in-law David, and grandchildren Hugh and Harry.