Specsavers has recognised Ravi Bhardwaj, one of the first optometrists employed by the multiple, for 35 years of service.

Bhardwaj, ophthalmic director and store partner at Specsavers Reading Broad Street, Early and Woodley, celebrated the anniversary with his team and had a video call with CEO John Perkins.

Doug Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, said: ‘After 35 years of service to his community and to Specsavers, he has become a much-admired father figure in the store and in Reading, caring for and developing the skills of hundreds of optometrists and optical employees.’

Bhardwaj recalled being invited for an interview in Guernsey where Doug and Mary Perkins told him about their vision for Specsavers.

‘One month later, I’m staying in a hotel in Bristol with Doug and an architect, organising the opening of the first ever Specsavers store on Bristol Bond Street,’ Bhardwaj said.

After two years in Bristol, Bhardwaj opened a practice in Reading and he has since opened two more practices nearby.

Bhardwaj said: ‘I couldn’t be more grateful for my time with Specsavers. Being able to open a number of stores in Reading and the surrounding areas over the years has really allowed me to build a life and feel a part of the local communities here.’

‘It’s been a pleasure getting to know our customers each day and it gives me the feeling that I belong here,’ he added.