Fond farewell to Morecambe charity stalwart
A longstanding trustee and optometrist has announced his retirement from sight loss charity Galloway’s which has a base in Morecambe.
Peter Howard was given a fitting send-off via Zoom at the organisation’s annual meeting earlier this month.
During his working life, Peter was an independent optometrist at Clare and Howard Opticians, in Garstang.
He started his career in 1971, when he joined family friend and optician Eric Clare in his established practice in Morecambe.
He then launched a new site in Garstang two years later, where he worked for 35 years.
Following his retirement, he was invited to join Galloway’s as a member of the trustee board in 2006.
He has also spent the past six years on the finance committee and was a co-director of Brew Me Sunshine, in Morecambe.
He said: “I was interested in becoming part of Galloway’s after a board member and an eye patient of mine suggested I join.
“I was very keen to carry on my career of helping people with eyesight difficulties.
“I wanted to make people aware that there is always something that can be done to help them. In the past, I had patients relating to me that they had been to the hospital eye specialist, where they were informed nothing more could be done for them.
“It was heart breaking, both for the patient and for us, because we knew that help and support would make such a big difference.
“By referring people to Galloway’s, we knew that people would get help and support, whether they are starting to lose vision, are partially sighted or blind. This gives people hope and removes anxiety.”
Peter, who lives in Garstang, admitted he will miss being involved with Galloway’s, but felt now was the right time to step down.
The 73-year-old said: "I will miss the friendly atmosphere and the relationships I had with the people. Everyone works well together and is passionate about what they do.
“I hope we have done a good job over the years and I am confident the charity will continue to be successful in the future. I feel the new wave of trustees who have joined recently are absolutely brilliant, both individually and as a group. I am convinced they will take Galloway’s forward and I wish them every success in that task. I strongly believe the future is bright for Galloway’s, particularly with the new developments in technology.”
Peter, a father-of-four, is now looking forward to spending more time with his wife of 49 years Margaret and eight grandchildren. But he will maintain a presence in the eye care sector as he will remain a chairman of trustees at befriending service Sightline.
During the past 16 years, he has also been a volunteer for Vision Aid Overseas and a country director of Sight Aid International. With these roles, he has been integral in training African optometrists and setting up sight testing centres in hospitals, providing prescription spectacles to people in Zambia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
He added: “Over the years, I have developed six vision centres with optical workshops. I am still involved in projects in Ethiopia and Kenya, with my last visit to Ethiopia being in February 2020, just before the Covid pandemic prevented further activity. However, we are still sending spectacles by postal courier.”
Stuart Clayton, CEO at Galloway’s, said: “‘Peter has served the charity for 14 years as a trustee with such enthusiasm and commitment. Whenever we hold an event, meeting or the launch of a new service Peter is the first to sign up and give his support. I and the charity are very grateful for the positive impact Peter has had on the charity and we owe him a debt of gratitude.”
Galloway’s, which provides support for people experiencing sight loss in Lancashire and Sefton, is now looking for someone to take up the role of treasurer on the board of trustees.
This unpaid role will involve maintaining an overview of the charity’s financial affairs, and leading the Finance and Investment Sub Committee.
To find out more, visit : https://www.galloways.org.uk/jobs or call 01772 744148.