Obituary: Brian Collison

The late Brian Collison

The eyecare sector has paid tribute to Brian Collison FADO (Hons) CL, SMC Disp., who sadly passed away last month.

A qualified dispensing and contact lens optician, Brian was the chairman and managing director of the family firm of opticians Thomas H. Collison Ltd – and a serving ABDO College examiner. He was also a long-time member and past chairman of the Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians (FODO), and a member of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM). He became a WCSM Freeman in 1972 on qualification at the age of 21 and moved up to the Livery in 1974. He was a popular and active member of the Company attending many society events.

Brian qualified as a Fellow of the Association of Dispensing Opticians (the forerunner to ABDO) in July 1971, before gaining his contact lens qualification in January 1979. He became a dispensing examiner in 1974, and a contact lens examiner in 1989. Brian subsequently supported ABDO by examining overseas, making numerous trips to Malaysia and Singapore. In January 2023, Brian was still examining at the contact lens practical examinations at the ABDO National Resource Centre in Birmingham.

ABDO head of examinations and registration, Mark Chandler, said: “Over the years, Brian was very generous with his time for ABDO – and always quick to step in when required. Brian had a great sense of humour. He was forthright with his views, and he will be very much missed by his fellow colleagues and by ABDO.”

ABDO vice president, Kevin Gutsell, added: “I first met Brian at our local ABDO area meetings in the late 1980s. Over the next 30 years, we regularly discussed everything and anything optics-related – whether on the phone, at a meeting or on the golf course. You never felt anything but positivity coming from Brian’s thoughts, ideas and experiences on professional, clinical or business matters. I shall very much miss our chats and Brian’s wise counsel.”

David Hewlett, FODO director, said: “Brian was a force of nature in eyecare, an ex-rugby player who understood strategy, tactics and when to push forward. He was an outstanding contact lens optician who successfully built up the family business, Thomas H. Collison. As FODO chair, he was a model of kindness and consideration who lightened even the most difficult of meetings with his acute sense of humour and generosity of spirit. Many of us will miss him as a colleague and as a friend.”

FODO director of regulatory affairs, Alan Tinger, added: “Without Brian’s energy, insight and personal support, FODO, ABDO and the FMO – now the OSA – would not have been able to develop a common headquarters for primary eyecare in London, which marked the coming of age of a united sector. Brian also believed deeply in the importance of local optical committees in defending and advancing the profession locally. He was always generous with his time and his company’s resources to make that happen. He will be very much missed by all who knew him across the sector.”