23 November 2022

The College recognises outstanding contributions to optometry with Life and Honorary Fellowships

The College of Optometrists has awarded five new Life Fellowships, and three Honorary Fellowships to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession or to the College.

Life Fellowship is awarded to members of College. The five new Life Fellows of The College of Optometrists are:

  • Dr Susan Blakeney PhD FCOptom Prof Cert Glauc, Prof Cert Med Ret - former clinical adviser at The College of Optometrists 
  • Raymond Curran FCOptom - Head of Ophthalmic Services, Strategic Planning and Performance Group, Department of Health NI
  • Professor Bruce Evans PhD FCOptom - Director of Research at the Institute of Optometry
  • Thomas Malcolm Hedley FCOptom - retired practice owner and community optometrist.
  • Susan Wilford FCOptom - volunteer trustee and Chair of The Benevolent Fund of The College of Optometrists and the Association of Optometrists.

Professor Bruce Evans FCOptom, one of the recipients of a Life Fellowship, said: ‘It is a great honour to receive a Life Fellowship of The College of Optometrists. Over the years, I have been privileged to work with many excellent research collaborators and clinicians and I thank them. The Life Fellowship represents a recognition of their contributions as much as my own.’

Honorary Fellowship is awarded to individuals involved in the wider eye healthcare and vision science professions. The three new Honorary Fellows of the College are:

  • Clare Bailey HonFCOptom - Consultant Ophthalmologist, Bristol Eye Hospital
  • Professor Rupert Bourne HonFCOptom – consultant ophthalmologist, Glaucoma Service at Cambridge University Hospital, Honorary Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Co-Director of Cambridge Eye Research Centre, and Co-Lead for Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) Vision and Eye Research Institute.
  • Sali Davis HonFCOptom - Chief Executive of Optometry Wales. 

Commenting on her Honorary Fellowship, Sali Davis HonFCOptom, said: ‘Having worked in the sector for 14 years, I have watched optometry in Wales rise to every challenge. It is hard to articulate the respect and admiration that has been engendered by those in the profession, and I can honestly say it has been a privilege to work for a profession that genuinely puts the patient at the centre of all decision making. That’s why it was such a great honour to receive the news of my Honorary Fellowship of the College, and to be a part of the Diploma Ceremony today.‘ 

President of the College, Professor Leon Davies FCOptom said: ‘The College's core purpose, as the professional body for optometry, is to inspire and support optometrists to excel in the provision of eye health care, for the benefit of patients. Fellowship of the College is our highest accolade, and we believe that the outstanding individuals who receive this award, are the embodiment of this purpose. 

‘The achievements of our members, fellows and others who have contributed so much to our profession demonstrate the vital impact that optometry, and the wider eye care community, has on people’s lives. I feel both honoured and proud to be presenting these awards.’ 

The awards were presented at the College’s annual Diploma Ceremony on Tuesday 15 November 2022 in Central London, the first ceremony held since 2019. This year, there was a morning and afternoon ceremony to ensure that the achievements of pre-registration students who overcame the challenges of the pandemic to qualify from 2020 onwards could be celebrated. 

More than 600 newly qualified optometrists were welcomed to the profession at the ceremonies, which also recognised optometrists achieving Research Excellence Awards and a College higher qualification. The College also awarded 17 Fellowships by Portfolio at the Diploma Ceremony, in recognition of achievement in the workplace and outstanding contributions to furthering excellence in the practice of optometry. 

Find out more

College members can apply for Fellowship by Portfolio by submitting a portfolio of evidence