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  • David Corbett

Andrew Jelley celebrates 40 years in Bromyard.

It seems rather a long time ago but for those old enough they might have caught sight of a young optician arriving in Bromyard in April 1983. Andrew trained at The City University London and having spent 5 years in Suffolk was keen to acquire his own practice.

Andrew Jelley and his wife Louise moved into 34 High Street. The practice had been established two years previously by Douglas Newton and his wife Joan. They had chosen to retire earlier than they had anticipated and were very pleased to hand over to a like-minded younger couple.

Their practice was quite basic even for the standards of the time, it consisted of a single room partitioned to provide a testing area and a separate reception and dispensing area.

The first job was to utilise the rest of the ground floor space to give a larger consulting room. Andrew and Louise moved into the flat upstairs. Subsequent acquisition of the next door premises, number 36, more than doubled the floor space and further improvements added a conservatory overlooking a quiet walled garden at the rear of the practice. The rest of the buildings now serve as offices.

In the early days, as the business was becoming established, Andrew supplemented income by travelling to Birmingham and Cheltenham providing locum services. The M5 was just two lanes in those days.

In 1984 the opportunity arose to take over the optical practice of Richard McCoy in Tenbury and so began what has become the Andrew Jelley Opticians of today.

Optics was very different in the 1980s. The profession, along with many others, was not allowed to advertise, the advent of most of today's High Street multiples had yet to happen and the good old NHS spectacle frames were still available. It is ironic that many of those NHS styles have become retro classics.

Equipment in 1983 was certainly very different from today's ultra-modern kit. Some of it was even home made but as time has gone on Andrew Jelley Opticians has embraced new developments in technology and now boasts the latest OCT imaging facility as well as computerised field of vision testing and test chart. The practice has gained many

plaudits for their range of spectacle frames to which has recently been added the Prue Leith collection and Face a Face brand.

The practice's record keeping and management is fully computerised but despite that, the emphasis is on providing an unhurried, personal service, from eye examination to

professionally dispensed spectacles and contact lenses.

Andrew is very keen to thank everyone who has supported him during his time so far in Bromyard. He is particularly indebted to Teresa Davies who joined as a receptionist but soon progressed to become a fully qualified dispensing optician. She has been with Andrew more years than she is inclined to admit but it's a long time!

Continuity has been the cornerstone to success. In 2009 Andrew was joined by Alex Lane, who with his wife and fellow optometrist Rebecca, started the process of succession in 2016. That process will be complete in a couple of years ensuring continuity of the same ethos of personal service.

Andrew Jelley Opticians is very proud to provide a genuinely independent service. Andrew has no intention of retiring just yet, he has been very vigilant in keeping up to date and looks forward to serving the community for the foreseeable future. Andrew remains excited about developments in optometry especially new strategies of myopia management for young people and new ophthalmic lens designs and technologies not to mention the prospect of new technologies in the consulting room.

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