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Gerda Goldinger: in remembrance

A warm, wise and supportive colleague who always went the extra mile for AOP members

The Association of Optometrists has paid tribute to Gerda Goldinger, former director of legal and regulatory, who has died suddenly of cancer.

Speaking to OT, the AOP’s chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, said that during Ms Goldinger’s 11 years at the AOP, she “did all she could to keep AOP members safe. She had an eye on protecting the future provision of AOP legal services by enabling members of her team to thrive. Gerda had a complete understanding of what it means to serve members – guiding, supporting and giving excellent advice. Our members knew she would go the extra mile for them and absolutely fight their corner.”

Ms Alderman added that Ms Goldinger built strong relationships and was well respected within the sector and outside.

“For those of us fortunate enough to work with her, Gerda was thoughtful and kind, with a lovely sense of humour. All our thoughts are with her family,” she said.

Ms Goldinger joined the AOP as legal and regulatory director in January 2008, having worked at Collins Solicitors for over seven years.

Former AOP chair of the board, Trevor Warburton, told OT that he remembered his first meeting with Ms Goldinger well.

“As the AOP chair at the time, I was on the interview panel for the role of legal and regulatory director. There were three or four candidates, but Gerda was the most suitable by a country mile.

“When I stepped down as AOP chair in May 2008, I was offered the position of clinical adviser to legal services and continued in the role supporting Gerda’s legal department until her retirement from the AOP last year, so I had the opportunity to work with and for Gerda for almost all of her career with the AOP. She was lovely, very approachable and always concerned for our members, whether with general advice, or those under investigation by the GOC,” Mr Warburton said.

Mr Warburton recalled Ms Goldinger’s passion for skiing, recalling AOP team long weekends away. “I always looked forward to a catch up and a chat with Gerda,” he added.

Former colleague, and current AOP director of legal and regulatory, Ella Franci, told OT that she had “the pleasure of working with Gerda for 10 years as both my manager and friend.”

She added: “Gerda was an extremely warm, wise and supportive colleague, who fought extremely hard for AOP members in many different forums, including at the GOC before fitness to practise committees. In doing so, she earnt a great deal of respect, not least from me, and I know that those AOP members who were fortunate to have her fighting her corner will be very sad to hear of her passing. My thoughts continue to be with her family and friends at this sad time.”

She is survived by her second husband, David Craig, whom she married in 2019, and her two sons, Daniel and Sam, from her first marriage.

• Gerda Goldinger, former AOP legal and regulatory director, died 16 November 2020

• If you are an AOP member who would like to share your memories of the support you received from Gerda, please get in touch with OT, [email protected]