I was greatly saddened to hear this week about the passing of the redoubtable Kay Hevey, former journal assistant on Optician.

Established readers will remember Kay as their first point of contact when getting in touch with Optician, and no doubt have fond memories of how she would always go the extra mile to sort out whatever problems might occur. In fact, she was the sort of frontline staff member that scatter-brained, deadline-worrying people like me come to rely upon. ‘I’ll have a word with Bill,’ or ‘I’ll make sure Bill does that,’ used to resolve many a problem.

We often underestimate the importance of quick-witted frontline staff with excellent people skills. They are absolutely key to any business with a public face. Another favourite of mine from my days working in a practice in Maidstone once defused an angry Tom Baker, who was shouting ‘do you know who I am?’ while demanding to be seen without an appointment, with the classic riposte: ‘I don’t care if you are a Timelord, you will have to wait your turn.’

Kay was of this ilk and always introduced great humour and humanity into everything she did. Once, on meeting my new wife, she turned to me and said: ‘She’s lovely, Bill. Why is she marrying you?’ Kay was also happy to volunteer as a guinea pig for my various eye experiments. She will be missed.

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