Farewells are never easy, and 32 years of service can make them even harder!

From business start up to a global pandemic, Margaret Bruce, has seen a lot over the last 32 years with Hughes, Macdonald & Davidson Opticians in Inverurie, but this journey is coming to an end, for her to start on a new venture.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:00 am
Margaret Bruce

Starting out on her career, Margaret planned to train as a nurse.

She at the point of getting measured for her uniform, when she says she had an epiphany and realized she was doing the wrong thing as she hated the sight of blood! But the nursing profession’s loss, was the optician’s gain!

Margaret then moved into eyecare, starting her career in an optician in Aberdeen, where she started to learn her trade. She then moved to a local optician in Inverurie to be nearer home and met new graduate, John Hughes and Donnie Davidson.

Starting to learn their trade, they develop a passion for eyecare for which they are now known.

In 1988, Hughes, Macdonald & Davidson Opticians opened their doors in Peterhead, and in Inverurie the following year.

During this time, they approached Margaret to come work with the old team again, this time in Inverurie.

She said: “knowing John and Donnie, I didn’t hesitate, I knew their work ethos and knew the great banter that came along with it”. So, Margaret started out in Peterhead learning the ropes for a few months before the opening of Inverurie.

Things were quite different 32 years ago, the practice was just starting out with a team of four, (John (optometrist), Donnie (dispensing optician) Margaret (optical assistant) and Janet (receptionist), compared to a team of eight now.

Margaret recalls: “It was all about teamwork, we were a small team and everyone just got stuck in.

What else has changed over the years?

Margaret explains: "Technology has made a huge difference, your eye exam may be the same, but our opticians can now gather so much information from an image of your eye that helps identify and treat eye disease earlier. And off course I cannot forget lenses, when I started out the lenses in my glasses, were mega, mega, thick!

"Thankfully over the years advancing technology has made them thinner, which makes them look so much better! Trends also change, but they are cyclical, and styles come in and out of fashion, sometimes I recognize new frames from ones I had back in the day.”

When asked if she could recall a stand-out moment, Margaret said: “there is too many to pick just one, but when patients ask for you by name, because they trust your advice when choosing a frame, it gives you a great feeling of satisfaction.”

Another memorable moment, this time for being one of the most challenging experiences, working and living through a global pandemic.

Margaret said: “It’s been one of the most challenging times for everyone. The Directors put in place a plan to ensure each stage in our patient’s visit is safe, including wearing PPE, making sure the practice is cleaned down after each patient and ensuring patients follow the new procedures too.”

Any advice to those starting out?

“Be yourself and enjoy people!", Margaret said. “I found that patients appreciate honesty, especially when buying new frames, the last thing they want is to get home decide they don’t suit their new glasses, so always be honest.”

Making the decision to leave was a difficult one for Margaret.

She said: “When you’ve been with the same company for such a long time, spending as much time with the team, as you do with your own family, makes it a huge decision.

"But being at home during the COVID-19 lockdown, gave me time to think and probably influenced my decision. Learning to let go control at work and spend my time on other things, helped me make the decision.”

She continues: “Now that it’s approaching, it’s getting scary, I keep hoping I’ve made the right decision.

“I am going to miss the girls and Darren and my morning chats with Andrew. I have been very lucky to have had such supportive bosses, John, Donnie, Alan and Andrew have all been great. I’m also going to miss my patients, who have been too kind, leaving cards and gifts, thanking me for taking care of their family over the years, which is very touching.”

Finally, what are her plans were for her retirement?

“I’m just going to see what happens," she said. “My better half John is retiring too and going self-employed, but he plans to work with my daughter for a few days a week, while I get to spend more precious time with my granddaughter Mia, which I am really looking forward too.”

She adds: "Other than that, weekend trips with the girls, catch up on some reading and after the summer, I would like to add a pup to the family!

Hughes, Macdonald & Davidson, Inverurie will not be the same without Margaret greeting patients as they arrive and after 32 years in the business, staff will say a very fond farewell next week on Thursday, April 29.

Margaret has been great leader, who has gone above and beyond for her team.

All the staff is very grateful for the work and dedication she have shown over the years and will be really sad to see her go.

They will of course miss her, but wish her all the happiness for the future.