Optician firm founder Stephen (72) dies

Optician Stephen Bye

Optician Stephen Bye

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The founder of a long-standing family firm of opticians has died after a long illness.

Mr Stephen Bye founded Stephen Bye Ophthalmic Opticians in Manchester Road in 1973 where it still remains.

The respected optician, who graduated from UMIST in Manchester, died peacefully in Abbey Croft Nursing Home, Loveclough, on December 13th aged 72 .

Morecambe-born Mr Bye came to Burnley in 1966 when he went to work for Cyril Rose Opticians in Plumbe Street. He eventually bought the business in 1971 and renamed it.

During his career, Mr Bye also worked at Burnley General Hospital.

His son Neil, who is carrying on the family business, revealed that his grandfather Leslie first started a firm of opticians in Lancaster in 1925.

He said: “My dad was very committed to the business and took his work very seriously.

“He thoroughly enjoyed his job and would have still been working today if it wasn’t for his illness.

“Dad suffered from vascular dementia and went to live at Abbey Croft three years ago.

“He was very meticulous in his work and had a real attention to detail. He enjoyed a challenge and the tricky cases especially.

“He will be a tough act to follow but I am proud we are still operating as an independent family business at a time when there are lots of big corporations.”

Away from work, Mr Bye was a member of the Queen’s Jubilee Freemasons Lodge in Nelson, and enjoyed rally car events.

He was a talented navigator and took part in the former RAC Rally as well as other rally events across the country. Mr Bye was well-known in the rally car world for organising large events.

Mr Bye lived in Reedley with his second wife Susan, who also worked for the family business, as did her daughter Maxine.

He also leaves his eldest son Jonathan and grandchildren Daniel, Liam and Zoe.

His funeral was held at Burnley Crematorium on Tuesday.