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Monday / June 24.
HomeminewsVale: Neil Forbes

Vale: Neil Forbes

Journalist and founder of Insight News, Neil Forbes has passed away peacefully after a short illness.

Mr Forbes published Insight News for over 40 years before selling the magazine. He then concentrated on publishing Today’s Ophthalmic News online. He has been remembered by members of the ophthalmic community as “a pioneer” who was determined and passionate.

Mr Forbes published Insight News for over 40 years before selling the magazine. He then concentrated on publishing Today’s Ophthalmic News online. He has been remembered by members of the ophthalmic community as “a pioneer” who was determined and passionate.

David Andrews, CEO of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists said, “Neil Forbes was a pioneer of ophthalmic specific journalism.  His contribution through the development of Insight News magazine cannot be underestimated. It was, and still is, a great forum to letting the whole ophthalmic industry know what is going on in a way that was easy to understand.

Mr Andrews continued, “He was able to explain complicated science in layman’s terms. He helped the industry as a whole lobby for improvements in eye care, and he had no hesitation in pointing out dumb ideas. Neil was recognised by RANZCO with a Certificate of Appreciation in 2015. He has left a great legacy.”

Peter Sumich, President of the Australian Society of Ophthalmologists said, “Neil was a real gem and we spoke frequently. He held firm opinions which he enjoyed expressing with characteristic dry wit in many Pluvius columns. It was always the first part of Insight I read.

“The amount of time he devoted to Insight News in his older years represented a genuine labour of love, which is why he took so long to retire and place it in hands which he hoped would continue in the spirit of his life’s work.”

Andrew McKinnon, CEO of Optometry NSW/ACT said over the course of more than 20 years with the Association, he had become close colleagues with Mr Forbes. “That wasn’t to say that we didn’t have some very heated exchanges about various stories and at one stage we were at lawyers at 20 paces! However as a person, I enjoyed Neil’s company and his passion – I am genuinely saddened by his passing.”

James Gibbins and Chedy Kalach from the Australasian College of Optical Dispensing (ACOD) said Mr Forbes passing was a “huge loss to the ophthalmic industry”.

“Neil had a wealth of experience and knowledge and was always willing to give his time. As editor of Insight News magazine for more than 40 years, his contribution will live on – Neil will be missed,” said Mr Kalach.

Mr Gibbins added, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Neil for over 30 years, my entire time in optics. He has always been a strong advocate for optical dispensing, has always been an encourager and support to myself personally, and in more recent times for our growing College of Optical Dispensing. There will never be another Neil Forbes! ‘Till we meet again!”

Charles Hornor, Director of Communications said the entire Specsavers community was greatly saddened.

“Neil was an extraordinary journalist, a true newshound and a guardian of the ophthalmic professions. His development of and tenure at Insight magazine for more than 40 years was legendary and his subsequent work at Today’s Ophthalmic News showed his determination to continue telling the optical story and asking the right questions. Neil’s passing represents the end of an era, he will be greatly missed and our thoughts are very much with Sandra and his family.”

Alan Saks, President of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society and mivision contributor formerly contributed a regular column to Insight News. Reflecting on Mr Forbes he said, “I really enjoyed the years I wrote my column ‘Saks on Eyes’ for Neil and Insight News, after he approached me to write for him many years ago. His support helped me establish myself in Australian eye care. For that I am truly grateful.

“He liked to be ‘Devil’s advocate’ and stir the pot and he did ask probing questions of the industry, individuals and politicians, as any decent journalist should. As others have alluded to, although we got on very well,  we did have the odd clash, but I guess that’s what happens with strong personalities… He certainly had an influence and impact on our professions and industry all these decades. He will be missed. RIP”

In a message advising his death, Mr Forbe’s wife Sandra said wrote, “To all of those in the optical industry who played a part in his journey, we thank you and hope it was as much fun for you as it was him”.

Neil was an extraordinary journalist, a true newshound and a guardian of the ophthalmic professions