BCLA welcomes new president and council members

The British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) has welcomed Susan Bowers as its President for the year 2014-15. The new President Elect is Brian Tompkins.

Outgoing President, Andy Yorke, presented Susan with the BCLA presidential chain of office at the Association’s Gala Dinner, held on the evening of Saturday 7 June at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry – Susan’s hometown.

Andy remarked: “As my term comes to a close I am delighted to be handing over BCLA presidency to Susan Bowers. Susan’s commitment to the Association goes without question and the tireless work she carries out behind the scenes is considerable. I know everyone will join me in wishing her much success in her presidential year.”

On taking office, Susan commented: “It is a great honour to become BCLA President at this exciting time. I plan to use my term to support members in encouraging many more patients to try contact lenses during their eye examination. I would also like to help raise the profile of fitting children and young people with contact lenses, as the benefits can be truly life changing.

“The BCLA works hard to educate its members but I believe the public needs educating too about the value of professional eyecare. It is incumbent upon us all to address this however and whenever we can, whether through social media, marketing or face-to-face in practice. I look forward to challenges and activities of the year ahead,” Susan added.

Commenting on his new role as BCLA President Elect, Brian Tompkins, said: “I am astounded! I’m so pleased to be leading the BCLA into its 40th year celebrations in 2016. I foresee an amazing time of education and entertainment ahead – well I would, as I am the ‘Edutainer’ when all said and done!”

Christine Purslow

The BCLA has appointed two new Optometric Representatives to the Council – Dr Christine Purslow and Andrew Elder Smith.

Dr Purslow, who is Head of Medical Affairs (UK & Ireland) at Spectrum Thea Pharmaceuticals, commented: “I am extremely honoured to have been elected to the BCLA Council at such an invigorating time, and as we head towards a special anniversary. I look forward to representing members’ viewpoints and helping the BCLA to grow further both nationally and internationally.”

Andrew Elder Smith, optometrist/consultant trainer at Contact Solutions Consultants, remarked: “I am thrilled and excited at being elected onto the BCLA Council. There are many challenges facing eyecare practitioners today and having the support of an organisation like the BCLA is invaluable.

“Young and experienced practitioners need resources to develop their knowledge and skills, not just to ensure that they stay ‘up to date’, but to progress and develop new areas of interest. I look forward to helping the BCLA reach out to the majority of optometrists and contact lens opticians, whilst engaging with specialist anterior eye practitioners and IP optometrists,” added Andrew.

The new line-up will see Shelly Bansal leave the BCLA Council after 10 years’ service. Paying tribute to Shelly, Andy Yorke said: “Unusually for me, I am lost for words to describe the monumental contribution that Shelly has made to the BLCA over his time as a Council member and as President for two consecutive years. On behalf of all of our members – a very, very big thank you.”

Also leaving the Council are Jonathon Bench, who was co-opted onto the BCLA Council for one year, and Dr Ursula Vogt, who served four years as Medical Representative. Andy thanked both for their contribution and services, and welcomed Dr Purslow and Andrew Elder Smith.

Andy and Susan

The composition of the 2014-15 BCLA Council is as follows:

  • Susan Bowers, President
  • Andy Yorke, Immediate Past President
  • Dr Catharine Chisholm, Past President
  • Brian Tompkins, President Elect
  • Karl Aberdeen, Technical Representative
  • Maxine Green, Technical Representative
  • Iain May, Contact Lens Optician Representative
  • Katherine Reed, Lay Member
  • Keith Tempany, Contact Lens Optician Representative
  • Andrew Elder-Smith, Optometric Representative
  • Dr Christine Purslow, Optometric Representative
  • Siobhan Wren, Medical Representative

A vacancy currently exists for a Medical Representative and BCLA Student Rep. BCLA student members will be invited to nominate candidates in September.

For more information about the BCLA, events, membership and resources, visit www.bcla.org.uk, email admin@bcla.org.uk or call 0207 580 6661.

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