Town optometrist celebrates 35 years in Banbury

Jem Hayward of Walford and Round Opticians, Banbury, has done 35 years. NNL-150630-140141009
Jem Hayward of Walford and Round Opticians, Banbury, has done 35 years. NNL-150630-140141009
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A Banbury optometrist has looked back on his career as he celebrates 35 years in the profession.

A Banbury optometrist has looked back on his career as he celebrates 35 years in the profession.

Jem Hayward graduated from Aston University, Birmingham in July 1980 and starting working at Walford and Round Opticians in Banbury’s High Street, also spending time at other branches in Leicester and Solihull.

Mr Hayward celebrates the milestone today (Tuesday) and outside of work he is an avid car fan and has a passion for photography.

He was a former Hook Norton parish councillor for 12 years, ran the village’s Festival of Fine Ales which has raised more than £24,000 for good causes and is a director of Hook Norton Low Carbon.

He said: “I had only a sketchy idea of what working as an optometrist was like when I went to university in 1977, in those days we called ourselves ophthalmic opticians, words I learnt to spell correctly in my first week of my course.

“I had done work experience in a factory making lenses and assembling spectacles, and had some very brief exposure to retail optometry at a branch of one of the larger retail chains.”

Mr Hayward, who lives in Hook Norton, added the speed of technology in the 1980s coupled with his interest in computers saw the business take on new challenges as they opened a new practice in Moreton-in-Marsh with a completely paper-free system, an idea still rare today.

He added: “In 35 years technology has advanced to an amazing degree and we have always tried to be on the leading edge.

“When I arrived the humble opthalmoscope was just about our only tool for looking inside eyes, but we at Walford and Round adopted retinal imaging very early, mainly due to my interest in photography.

“Although our profession faces many challenges, I feel there is still a place for forward-thinking businesses that hold on to the traditional values of services, integrity and honesty.”