Optician is sad to report that Howard Bainbridge, optical technician and practice director at Cooper and Leatherbarrow Opticians in Darlington, passed away on June 21 aged 83.

Bainbridge joined the practice as an apprentice when he was 15 years old in 1953 and designed, manufactured and fixed spectacles until he retired in October, 2020.

In 1995, Bainbridge was admitted into the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers where he was made a Freeman of the City of London.

Ellis Leatherbarrow, managing director at Cooper and Leatherbarrow, was mentored by Bainbridge when he joined the practice and his grandfather George trained Bainbridge in the 1950s.

Leatherbarrow said the practice team was devastated to find out about Bainbridge’s passing and sent his condolences to the family.

He said: ‘Howard was an incredibly popular member of our team and our patients will, I’m sure, remember him as the gentleman that he was.

‘To all of us at the practice, Howard was our rock and a massive figure in all of our lives. To me, he was a mentor, business partner and godfather to my daughter but, above all, he was a true friend.

‘He lived and breathed this company for almost 70 years; he was totally dedicated to the profession and you could always rely on him.

‘Howard was enjoying a much-deserved retirement after a wonderful career, so I’m thankful that he was able to spend more time with his family in the past few months, and our thoughts will continue to be with his loved ones during this time.’

Bainbridge is survived by his wife of 58 years Margaret, daughters Sarah and Clare, son-in-law David and grandchildren Hugh and Harry.