Sustainability, building back better and visions of the future all featured at this year’s Optician Awards ceremony, which saw nearly 600 guests pack into the London Hilton on Park Lane for a night of celebration and fun on November 30.
There was a fresh feel about the presentations this year with a host of new awards, a clutch of new sponsors and some new names entering the Optician Awards hall of fame. Welcoming guests, Optician editor-in-chief Chris Bennett noted that the profession had seen a cautious return to normality, but it was clear that optical practices relished being fully back in business.
He said the introduction of new categories made sure the Awards remained fresh and relevant while a host of new features for the night would ensure a fun evening celebrating excellence in optics.
For the first time, a bespoke trophy was awarded to the winner of the Sustainable Practice of the Year, an Award sponsored by CooperVision. A Delerex trophy, made from recycled dummy lenses and hand-crafted by the designer Yair Neuman, was presented to winner Woodhouse Opticians (pictured left). The Build Back Better Award was scooped by Barnham Opticians. The Jubilee Vision Award sponsored by Specsavers was won by Esha Dutta, who planned out her blueprint for optics while telling judges about her own journey into the profession. First-time winners included Yorkshire Eyewear in the Social Media Practice of the Year Award. The most hotly-contested Award; the Independent Practice of the Year, sponsored by Hoya was won by Samantha Hague Optometry, marking another first. A full run-down of all the winners with pictures can be seen in our review of the evening.
The glittering black tie evening started with a drinks reception before guests made their way through to the sumptuously-decorated main dining room. Bennett’s welcome address (pictured right) was followed by a balloon burst prize draw sponsored by Vivid Optical, which saw Lauren Beehan from Dore Optical win £300 and a magnum of champagne. Throughout the event strolling magicians entertained guests and a silent auction was under way for a range of fantastic lots, including an all-expenses paid weekend in Italy. Further money was raised after dinner in a game of heads and tails, which was curated by Bennett and ably aided by Optician sales director Darren Ward. Winning a Fortnum and Mason hamper and a magnum of champagne was Ryan James of Eyespace. In total, £7,200 was raised for Blind Veterans UK on the night.
With dinner and the competitions complete, guests were treated to a video sting and live edit of guests arriving before it was time for the celebrity host, Vernon Kay, to wow the crowd with a string of showbiz anecdotes. He was then joined by Bennett on stage for the main event of the evening, the awards presentation. A total of 17 trophies were presented by sponsors and VIP guests against a backdrop of a stunning audio-visual show.
Following the successful presentations, guests were free to network at the bar, make bids in the silent auction or dance the night away to the live band Shine On.
Optician would like to thank the judges and the sponsors for supporting the Optician Awards and offer its congratulations to the winners, commiserations to the runners up and thank all of those who entered the Optician Awards.