For more than 30 years, Penny Thakrar has been at the heart of Hatfield’s optical health.
A familiar face to many local residents, the 59-year-old optometrist and director of the town’s Specsavers opticians knows all there is to know about keeping our eyes in top condition.
Originally born in Uganda, Penny emigrated to the UK in the early 1970s. Before long she’d earned herself a place at Birmingham’s Aston University where she expanded her interest in optical science.
Moving to Hatfield
By the early 1980s, and now a fully qualified optometrist, Penny moved south to London to pursue her career. She said: ‘I’d always had a keen interest in science and particularly optometry – I think it came from being a glasses-wearer myself. So when the time came to choosing a career naturally I jumped at the chance to become an optometrist.
‘I’ve been working in Hatfield for more than 30 years and really feel like part of the local community. The best part of my job is definitely seeing those familiar faces come into my testing room year after year. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know most of the community here through my work and I’ve seen customers grow from toddlers having their first eye test to having their own little ones and bringing them in for check-ups.
‘I’m in a unique position and feel very privileged to be able to share those landmarks with so many people. A lot of the customers are more than that to me at this stage and I still look forward to seeing them each and every time.'
Life outside of work
On top of dedicating her working life to looking after the Hatfield community, Penny is a doting mum and has been an active member of her local Lyons Club for the last 15 years. She said: ‘I love my work but realised there are other ways I can give back to the community so I got involved with my local Lyons club and have been as active as I can in supporting their amazing efforts. I’ve had a fantastic 30 years in optometry and I look forward to many more.’