celebrating 125 yeras

2020 – A look back on our 125th Anniversary Year

Posted: Thursday 31st December 2020

Those of you who are regular readers of our blog will recall Richard Rawling's contribution in January 2020 which included the history of our unusually longstanding eyecare business. His blog held the promise of an exciting year ahead and you can read it here. Now 2020 is drawing to a close and it’s time to take a look back at how our anniversary year panned out…

The year started well – January and February 2020 were fantastic! All our staff were looking forward to what 2020 had to offer – after all a year of 125th anniversary celebrations would surely be very special. Three years in the planning, a new logo, a HUGE staff party planned near Christmas, what could possibly go wrong???? Hedge End branch were the first to hold their anniversary day – little did they know it would be the first and last. One by one our celebrations were cancelled – staff were furloughed, our branches only open with a skeleton staff – we were only allowed to see certain patients - keyworkers in need or where emergency eyecare advice was needed. Access to eye casualty and GP services was severely restricted and so patients with eye problems flooded in to us. In those first few weeks nearly all opticians closed their doors completely meaning our Rawlings emergency service was jam packed with patients in need from all over Hampshire and Surrey– mainly using telemedicine but with a sprinkling of face to face cases where a diagnosis could not be made over the phone. You can read our lockdown blog here.

As the lockdown eased and PPE became more readily available our staff gradually returned from furlough however social distancing rules have meant you will still see fewer staff in our branches than you are used to. We also are continuing our appointment only service to keep both staff and patients safe. We are working as hard as we can to catch up with our backlog of appointments caused by the lockdown although it is a challenge due to the limitations on numbers of people allowed in at any one time.

126 years seems like an odd anniversary to have and as we don’t know what challenges Covid-19 will bring in 2021, it seems that our celebrations will have to wait a little longer. The good news is that the ravages of 2020 may have knocked us all sideways – but we have picked ourselves up, brushed ourselves down and are ready to face 2021, our 126th year in eyecare!

< Back