New Council members welcomed at College AGM

  • 24 Mar 2021

The College of Optometrists welcomed eight new Council members at its AGM on 23 March.

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The AGM, which took place as part of Optometry Tomorrow Bitesize 2021, was held virtually because of restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

College President, Colin Davidson FCOptom, said; “I would like to warmly welcome our new Council members. The College Council ensures that we remain true to our principles and accountable to our members, and we rely on them to act as ambassadors for their region, so it is vital that we have engaged Council members who are rooted in the profession. I would like to thank our dedicated outgoing Council members for their hard work, particularly during the last year when their input has been so important as we navigated the pandemic.”

The newly elected College Council members are; David Hill MCOptom (Eastern), John Kidd MCoptom (Eastern), Keziah Latham FCOptom (Eastern), Jay Varia MCOptom (London), Katie Curran MCOptom (Northern Ireland), Lewes James Hambrey MCOptom (South West), Jagdeep Singh MCOptom (West Midlands) and Paul Appleson MCOptom (Yorkshire and Humber)

Following the election process, two Council members retained their seats, they are; Irene Ctori MCOptom (London) and Johnathan Waugh MCOptom (Scotland).

New Council member Lewes James Hambrey MCOptom said; “I am excited to join the Council at a time when optometry is evolving to meet the demands of a changing world, and am grateful for the opportunity to represent fellow professionals. Optometrists have exceptional skills that must be recognised and respected, and I look forward to working with other members of the College to encourage collaboration and provide the profession with a successful future.”

Nine members of Council ended their tenure at the AGM; Parth Shah MCOptom (Eastern), Deepali Modha MCOptom (Eastern), Peter Allen FCOptom (Eastern), Joy Myint FCOptom (London), Lorcan Butler MCOptom (Northern Ireland), Stephanie Campbell MCOptom (South West), Prab Boparai MCOptom (West Midlands), Aleksandra Mankowska MCOptom (Yorkshire and Humber) and Eddie Pigott MCOptom (South East).

Several other appointments were also announced at the AGM; Dr Tony Gibson FCOptom was elected as Treasurer, Mike Horler FCOptom was co-opted to the Council as a representative for the South East region. Four new members to the Board of Trustees were also announced; Kyla Black MCOptom, Dr Irene Ctori MCOptom, Professor Kathryn Saunders FCOptom and Johnathan Waugh MCOptom.

College members can contact their regional Council member via the College website.



Note to Editors

The College of Optometrists’ Council
College Council sets the strategic and professional direction of the College. Council members act as the conscience of the College, ensuring that the College remains true to its principles and accountable to members. They also act as ambassadors for colleagues in their region by sharing the College’s thinking, direction and activity, and communicating the feedback, views and ideas of their constituents.

About the College
The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.

New Council member biographies:

Paul Appleson MSc MCOptom DipGlauc DipTp(IP)
Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

Paul qualified in 1987, gained his MSc in 2001, and College Diplomas in Glaucoma (2011) and Therapeutics (IP) (2013).

He has run an independent practice in Wetherby since 1999, and in 2016 set up a partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals, to provide a community NHS ophthalmology service in the practice, delivered by specialist optometrists. He also works within the Trust, in the Acute Referral Clinic (Eye Casualty).

He is a former chair of and an active member of Leeds LOC for 23 years, helping to set up cataract, glaucoma and COVID Urgent Eyecare services (CUES). He has previously tutored in various university clinics and has been an examiner for the College of Optometrists since 2012.

He is passionate about seeing optometry being respected and accepted as the 'go to' profession for eye and vision problems. He believes that bringing together clinical experience, higher qualifications, new business models, innovative NHS commissioning, and cross professional working, we can transform the delivery of eyecare.



Katie Curran PhD, MPH, BSc (Hons) MCOptom
Council member - Northern Ireland

Katie qualified as an optometrist from the University of Ulster, Coleraine in 2012. She completed her pre-registration year in Scotland and continued to work as a full-time optometrist until 2016, before returning to Northern Ireland to complete a Master’s in Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). Katie has a keen interest in the optometry profession from a clinical and research perspective. She is passionate about strengthening partnerships between optometrists, ophthalmologists and other health care personnel to enhance patient care. She is also interested in early prevention strategies to reduce avoidable vision impairment and blindness for all age groups.

Katie recently completed her PhD, “Building capacity for diabetic eye screening and management in low-middle income countries: A mixed-methods approach” at QUB. She is working as a postdoctoral researcher at QUB with Professor Tunde Peto and is continuing to locum as an optometrist at weekends. Katie is now working towards becoming an independent prescribing optometrist.


Lewes Hambrey MCOptom
Council member - South West

Lewes has been an Optometrist since 2004. He began his career in the multiple sector, before working for a decade in independent practice, including a number of years as a sole practitioner. He has spent time in the Hospital Eye Service and provided domiciliary care, and now works in a multiple practice as part of a large Optometric team.

Since qualifying he has been involved in a number of shared care schemes and has pursued professional development. He has obtained numerous Certificate Modules in Clinical Optometry from City University, and is currently participating in the postgraduate Clinical Optometry course at Cardiff University. Throughout his career he has trained fellow professionals. He is currently a pre-registration Optometrist supervisor and is involved with the Optometry degree course at UWE Bristol. As a member of the Somerset Local Optical Committee and the Association of Optometrists Virtual Policy Group, Lewes encourages open, supportive communication between all within Optometry to ensure the future of the profession and the wellbeing of its members.



David Hill BSc MCOptom DipTp(IP) FBDO
Council member - Eastern

David graduated from City University in 1996. Following a period with Boots Opticians, he joined Specsavers in Newmarket as a partner in 2003. He registered as an IP optometrist in 2014 and retains a close working relationship with the hospital eye service. David chaired Suffolk LOC until the end of 2020 and remains a member of the committee. Also, he works part-time as a clinic supervisor at Anglia Ruskin University and has supervised many pre-reg students.


John Kidd BSc(Hons) MCOptom
Council member - Eastern

John started his career as a manufacturer then qualified as a Dispensing Optician before graduating as an Optometrist at Bradford University in 2000. Over the years he has practiced in multiples, owned his own independent group and now currently works in an independent setting and Addenbrookes hospital.

He is a member of the Cambridgeshire LOC, a former MECS director and AOP councillor.

Outside optometry he helps run a food program for poor and disadvantaged in Tanzania and supports a blind school in Nepal.


Dr Keziah Latham PhD Prof Cert LV FCOptom
Council member - Eastern

Kez is an Associate Professor at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), where she has been a staff member since 2006. Her key interests are in low vision and assessment of visual function, and she was awarded the Neil Charman medal for excellence in optometric research in 2017. Kez trained at Aston University for her undergraduate degree (1990) and PhD (1995), and then continued there as a lecturer (1995-2000). She has worked in community practice throughout her career in both independent and multiple settings. With her current independent practice she is involved in glaucoma shared care schemes.

Kez is passionate about undergraduate optometric education and upskilling of the profession through postgraduate study, and also in the importance of research for the development of optometry as a mature, evidence-led profession. She was elected to College Council in March 2021.



Jagdeep Singh BSc(Hons) MOptom MCOptom Prof Cert Glauc Prof Cert Med Ret Dip(Tp) IP
Council member - West Midlands

Jagdeep graduated with Master’s degree in Optometry from Aston University in 2015 and completed his pre-reg year with Specsavers in 2016. He currently works a Specialist Optometrist at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital working in medical retina, urgent eye, diabetic screening and injection clinics. Jagdeep is an Independent Prescribing Optometrist with a Professional Certificate in Glaucoma and Professional Certificate in Medical Retina. He is currently studying towards his Professional Certificate in Low Vision. He also works as an AMD Optometrist for SpaMedica, across various sites in the UK.

Since 2018, Jagdeep has worked as a Clinical Governance and Performance Lead for Primary Eyecare Services in Staffordshire, Cheshire and Merseyside and is responsible for supporting CCG’s and optical practices to establish and maintain extended services in primary care. He has been a member of the Shropshire Local Optical Committee since 2019 and continues to practices as locum optometrist within the West Midlands.

Jagdeep is passionate about local and integrated eye health services and believes that post graduate education and optometric qualifications will help Optometrists play a vital role in reducing the burden on ophthalmic services within secondary care.

He was elected College Council Member for the West Midlands region in March 2021. 



Jay Varia BSc (Hons) MCOptom DipTp(IP) Prof.Cert. Glauc
Council member - London

Jay graduated from the University of Wales, College of Cardiff and qualified as an optometrist in 2001 after completing her pre-registration year in independent practice.  After a period in working within the multiple sector, she joined a specialist independent practice in 2003 and was involved in diabetic shared care, community minor injury schemes, myopia control and orthokeratology clinics as well as carrying out regular eye examinations and contact lens consultations, which she continued until 2018.

In 2005, she joined Moorfields Eye Hospital part-time undertaking specialist contact lens clinics (paediatric, cosmetic, scleral, therapeutics, post-surgical cornea) as well as paediatric extended role, glaucoma, cataract, external disease, complex refraction, adult and paediatric low vision clinics. Her role also involved teaching and supervising clinical staff. In 2009, she was appointed Optometry Education Lead at Moorfields, alongside maintaining clinical commitments, which involved setting up the education section for the optometry department. This involved developing learning and development for staff, providing continuing education and training courses which were delivered nationally, expanding these and developing a highly motivated team to continue to deliver them.

In 2013, she joined UCL, Institute of Ophthalmology and set up the College of Optometrists Higher Qualifications in glaucoma. As the founding programme director, she set up and together with a team, developed and delivered Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology (for non-medical professionals) Master’s level programmes for which she is also glaucoma module lead. Her work also involves reviewing ophthalmic postgraduate education frameworks for non-medical professionals. Jay continues her clinical and education career and is passionate about developing optometrists in all sectors to take on advanced practice or specialist roles.





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