Forty VIP guests enjoyed a scorching ceremony at The Body Doctor Ltd in Denby Dale when the eyecare company was presented with its second Queen’s Award for Innovation by Her Majesty’s representative, The Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire Ed Anderson.

The manufacturer of The Eye Doctor range won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category for its Sterileyes patented anti-bacterial compresses used to treat dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and blepharitis. The Sterileyes solution is clinically proven to reduce bacteria on the compress by 99.9%.

On a hot day, the Lord-Lieutenant was delighted to be greeted by 24 local schoolchildren waving flags as he arrived. And on the tumultuous day when the Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned, Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood enjoyed a welcome respite from politics at the celebration.

Mr Anderson emphasised that the Queen’s Award is the highest award for UK business – the “ultimate accolade” – and said that the company should be understandably proud of gaining the recognition again.

The Body Doctor Ltd is also celebrating another milestone, as its sales and marketing director, Sam Wymer, highlighted. “This year, our 10th year of trading, we are expecting to achieve the one millionth Eye Doctor hot eye compress sold, which looking back, is quite an unbelievable achievement,” he said.

“We started this business in a sector we knew very little about, but we knew that we could change the industry for the better and change the lives of so many people suffering with eye complications around the world,” he added.

The Lord-Lieutenant with guests including MP Mark Eastwood (front row, extreme left)

Mr Wymer reflected on the challenges the company had faced in recent years. “From the first lockdown announcement, we lost 95% of revenue overnight as no customers could purchase any products with all our outlets closed,” he said.

“However, by our nature of being quick to adapt, we successfully recouped the losses by switching to an e-commerce-only company until everything opened back up.

“Through a lot of late nights and tense family quizzes on Zoom, we came through it and saw record-breaking sales through Amazon and our website. This is all down to the team we have.

“Winning this prestigious award for the second time just goes to show the determination and commitment we have to the business. We cannot wait to see what can achieve together in the next 10 years.”

The Lord-Lieutenant with local schoolchildren

The company is backed by science and supported by experts in the medical field, including TV’s Dr Hilary Jones, who gave a talk to the children about eye health at the event.

At the presentation, Dr Jones said: “This is an incredible accolade, not least because the entry criteria and judging system are so meticulous and all-encompassing.

“I know how hard this family business has worked to get to where it is today, and I am particularly impressed with their highly researched, innovative products and their focus on customer satisfaction and service.

“I feel proud to have witnessed their successful evolution from the start and their recent royal recognition is incredibly well-deserved.” 

MP Mr Eastwood emphasised that the award was a “really special achievement” and being able to use the accompanying logo would open even more doors for the company, especially internationally.

The Body Doctor Ltd first won the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2016. The family-run business was established in 2012 to develop and supply innovative eyecare products.

The Eye Doctor range features hot and cold compresses, eyedrops, biodegradable eyelid wipes, including tea tree and hayfever wipes and a new Premium Eye Health Food Supplement.

The company achieved a major milestone last year when a patent was granted for Sterileyes following five years of research and development with three independent laboratories.