“I think it is fair to say that John was 'Mr Optrafair' for many years and devoted an enormous amount of his time to ensure it was a financial success for the FMO,” said former FMO Vice-Chairman Kingsley Sleep. “He was the founder and owner of Cambridge Optical which grew into the Cambridge Optical Group following the acquisition of many long-established optical companies during the 1980s. I worked with John from 1981 to 1991 which was a time of rapid expansion and there was never a dull moment!” he added.

“John was an extraordinary character; extrovert, ebullient, clever and shrewd all at the same time. He was also a visionary in the world of manufacturing optics and changed the face of the sector in many ways. We shared a sense of humour and enjoyed a strong friendship. That never changed in subsequent years and I shall miss him.”

Another contemporary, Bob Hutchinson, agreed: “John was one of a number of highly respected manufacturing opticians during the 1970s and 1980s. Starting his career in the spectacle frame business in London, his talents at running a business soon came to the fore when he opened a small unit for lens glazing in Histon, Cambridgeshire. Through long hours and dedication to his customers, this business, like those to follow, grew and the business moved to Bar Hill, a new village in Cambridgeshire.

“The purpose-built premises were filled with state-of-the-art glazing machinery and it seemed a huge leap of faith. But with John’s guidance the building was later doubled in size and the new entity was opened with a large celebration for all John’s customers and friends by no less than Eric Morecambe, the UK’s favourite comedian.

“John had a large personality and was constantly filling the old print magazines with PR and stories about Cambridge Optical. His success was in understanding what the public wanted in frame design, as well as quality lens production, and in the care he took for every one of his customers.

As Chair of the FMO for two years he oversaw TV advertising on eyecare issues, paid for by the lens manufacturers. Creating some of the largest stands at Optrafair, he also brought the BBC’s 'Clothes Show' with Jeff Banks and a catwalk,” added Bob.