Leading optician, 65, dies while cycling to work during training for RideLondon


A leading optician who died suddenly while cycling to work during his training period for the RideLondon event was today described as an “all-round lovely man”.

Tim Bowden, 65, keeled over on the way to his Kent practice just days before he was set to take part in the capital’s Prudential Ride London cycle race.

The keen cyclist had planned to pedal the challenging 100-mile route out to Surrey and back again, but died last Tuesday after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Today his sister Ruth Hewess said: “It’s come completely out of the blue. He was fit and healthy. He was planning on doing the 100-mile Ride London race for Vision Aid.

“He was just an all-round lovely man. He just wanted to push himself. He wanted to do as much as he could for Vision Aid and to help developing countries. He was a very compassionate man and very quiet. He kept to himself.”

The former nurse, 67, said the family was waiting for a post-mortem result to confirm the cause of death.

She added: “He will be thoroughly missed, not only by the family but by the whole optical world.”

Mr Bowden, who also worked as a visiting lecturer in the contact lens department of London’s City and Islington College, owned an opticians practice in Gillingham with his wife Elisabeth Lowe.

He was active in professional bodies such as the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) and often fund-raised money through charity cycle rides for organisations including Optometry Giving Sight.

Former BCLA president Brian Tomkins said: “The BCLA and optometry in general has lost one of the most dedicated and charming men we have ever known.

“He was the presenter of our history at many Visionaries conferences and it is perhaps fitting that he now ranks among the true pioneers of optics.”

A big well done to all optometry professionals who took part in today’s #RideLondon. Tim Bowden will be a proud man. #IRodeForTim pic.twitter.com/gkMW1nSTR7

— 👁BCLA (@_BCLA) July 30, 2017

Saddened at the passing of Tim Bowden, a great supporter, who helped to establish our UK Cycle for Sight Challenge. Our sincere condolences. pic.twitter.com/BbGZGnlTEO

— OptometryGivingSight (@givingsightorg) July 28, 2017

Mr Bowden, an expert in contact lenses, authored a book called ‘Contact Lenses: The Story’ several years ago, which led to the creation of a world-renowned public collection of contact lenses at the British Optical Association Museum in Charing Cross.

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