After 36 years service as an optometrist with a local practice, popular Jenny Saunders is ringing the changes.
She will be devoting her retirement to a bell-ringing hobby which is raising huge sums to help combat blood cancer.
Directors and staff at Barraclough’s in Western Road, Bexhill (formerly Barraclough and Stiles) said goodbye to Jenny at a lunch in her honour.
Jenny said: “I came down and got my pre-registration job in August 1986 with Frank Barraclough and Peter Stiles. Initially, I worked here, at St Leonards and at Eastbourne, dividing my time wherever my supervisor was working.”
Asked why she chose optometry, Jenny said: “Because I wanted to do something in health care. I didn’t want to do medicine as such and I thought the eyes were an interesting bit of the body to specialise in. All my brothers and sisters were short-sighted and we all wore spectacles!”
Sometimes optometrists are able to spot impending health problems such as brain tumours at an early stage.
“I have really enjoyed working with patients and being here for 36 years, right from the start, I have continued to care for many of the same people over the years. It’s been a long-term continuity of care and that has made a huge difference – that and the fact that locally we have perhaps a more than average aged population. It means that we have done a lot of optometry which we would not otherwise have done.
“I have really enjoyed that.
“The technology has changed so much over the years. When I started we had only just begun to use computers. Today, we have retinal photography in the practice and CT scanning – we do OCT (optical coherence tomography) here now.
“You could not have dreamed then of the changes in practice now.”
Jenny’s major interest is bell-ringing and is a trustee of Strike Back Against Blood Cancer (SBABC).
SBABC are a group of bell ringers from 1066 Country who raise the awareness of the 137 blood cancers that exist.
Jenny said: “We are in the process of forming a charity and are heading for £8m raised in just over two years. The incredible sum was raised through donations and sponsored bell-ringing.