Friday, 14 July 2017 11:23

FMO celebrates 100 years

FMO celebrated its Centenary year in style on 11 July with an event in the Weston Pavilion at the Southbank Centre attended by FMO members and guests from all of the optical bodies. Despite the disappearance of the sun after the heatwave, the views from the 6th floor towards the river, Big Ben and the London Eye, were enjoyed to the music of Daisy and the Chameleons, and guests enjoyed a convivial atmosphere to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Although the first General Meeting of the Association of Wholesale and Manufacturing Opticians, FMO’s predecessor body, was held on 17 March 1917, it was almost exactly one hundred years ago that the Constitution was signed, on 17 July 1917.

John Street, Chairman of FMO from 1984-1986, spoke movingly about the challenges facing the sector in the past, with protracted haggling with ‘the Ministry’ over what was known as ‘the Schedule’ – which listed the prices FMO members would charge opticians for NHS lenses which the opticians could recover from the NHS.

FMO is proud to be a founder member of the Optical Confederation, and John welcomed Lynda Oliver, Chair of the Confederation, who explained what she called the ‘breathtakingly simple’ reasons why FMO is such an important part of the Confederation: FMO’s members’ technology drives what we do today, FMO’s members R&D shapes what we do tomorrow, and FMO’s survival is key to the Confederation’s survival.

Before the party got underway, the formal part of the evening was concluded by FMO Chair Andy Yorke, who spoke of the challenges facing optics in the future, not just through technological change and innovation, but also as a result of the economic uncertainty for FMO members and their customers as the UK goes through Brexit.

Andy concluded his speech with an announcement about 2020 Vision, a joint education event involving as many optical education providers as possible, to be held alongside Optrafair 2020 to be held at the NEC from 4-6 April 2020.

centen crowd

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