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Relatively speaking: we talk to Frank and Andrew Petticrew

We ask personalities about the special family relationships in their lives

By Karen Ireland

Published 30/09/2015

Strong bond: Andrew Petticrew and dad Frank
Strong bond: Andrew Petticrew and dad Frank

Andrew Petticrew is an optometrist working in Belfast and is married to Becky with two children, Rory (9) and Martha (5). His dad Frank is a retired optometrist and handed over the family business to his son in 2013.

Andrew says: "It is something a bit special for me, to have the opportunity to practice in the uncompromising way I feel it should be done, in a family business which was started by my great-grandad.

"I am the luckiest man in the world. I jump out of bed in the morning and look forward to my work."

"Over 12,000 people in Northern Ireland have entrusted us with their eye care.

"We cherish the reputation and loyalty we have built over the past century and pride ourselves in having patients that live all over the world, from Albuquerque to Zimbabwe."

M y dad was an optometrist and I learned a lot from him over the dining room table. His dad before him was a jeweller, watch-maker and an optician - so it is definitely in the blood.

I thoroughly enjoyed my job. There is nothing like studying the eye - it is as distinctive as fingerprints.

Every eye is different and it is the closest you can get to the brain. Even though I am retired, I still read a lot of journals and continue to study developments in the industry. I also attend lecturers and conferences all over the world.

I highlight issues in journals that I think might be of interest to my son and his team.

I was delighted when Andrew told me he was going to be an optometrist.

I was on the west coast of Scotland when I got the call to say he had been accepted to study optometry at university - I was completely emotional and all welled up.

I have always been proud of all my four children and eight grandchildren.

I'm pleased that Andrew has taken over the business - it couldn't be in better hands.

He still rings me from time to time and asks my advice. He'll ask me if I've seen something before, and most cases I will have seen, so we can compare notes and learn from each other. Patience is one of Andrew's qualities and he has a sympathetic manner with his patients - some of whom are infirm. He is so capable as well as being sensitive and caring.

Despite running the business, Andrew is also a wonderful father and husband who always makes time for his family."

Name: Frank Petticrew

Age: 78

Occupation: Retired

Optometrist

Relationship to Andrew: Father

I'm a fourth generation optometrist, having followed my father into the business 12 years ago. This is National Eyecare Week and, as 50% of sight-loss is preventable this is the perfect time to have an eyecheck done, and ensure regular visits, too.

I love my job as it constantly challenges me, and is an amazing opportunity to work with people. I have gotten to know my patients so well, as it is part of my job to know about their lifestyles, their families, general health and well-being.

Most of the people we work with have genuine eye conditions and they really appreciate the help and support we give them.

I love the technical side of the profession, too, and keep up to date with all the latest advances in technology. I suppose you could say I am an optometrist geek.

My wife Becky and I have two children, Rory (9) and Martha (5). The children have better social lives than we do, so running after them keeps us busy. We love going swimming as a family and it is a lot of fun. We also enjoy sailing, but there is nothing better than sitting down as a family to watch programmes such as You've Been Framed and the Planet's Funniest Animals.

It's good just to relax and have a laugh together.

My dad is my inspiration and I really admire him. We worked together for over 10 years in the practice before he retired.

Even though he has officially retired, he is still training and attending seminars all over the world. I am very proud of him and all that he has achieved.

He has always given me a lot of responsibility. He said I had a better education than he ever did, so I should just get on with it. He always asked my opinion on things and we have always shared our knowledge.

My dad has always given me my place, which in turn has helped me to grow as an optometrist.

He is the most patient man in the world and a great professional. He had a reassuring nature which always seemed to put people at ease - they knew they were in good hands.

Outside work we spend a lot of time together whether that's Sunday dinner with my brothers and sisters, or just the two of us out for lunch.

We are very close and I enjoy his company - he is a real gentleman."

Belfast Telegraph

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