Meltham optician’s balloon forges international friendship in the city of music

It was on the 25th March that we opened our new optician’s practice in Meltham. Diggle B brass band entertained our many visitors and we held a balloon race to help raise funds for the Macular Society.  Each of the balloons had a ticket attached to it asking the person who discovered the balloon to get in touch.  Little did we realise the distance some of these balloons would travel.


It was nearly a month later when we received a message from Viennese historian Elmar Eggerer Elmar saying that he had found the remains of one of our balloons entangled in his new roof. Elmar is well known for his comprehensive study of Mediaeval English Guilds and Craft Companies as well as being a sought-after trumpet player. Elmar is currently building his own house in Greifenstein, a town 24km north of Vienna.

Having just put the roof on the building, it is customary to put something like a small fir tree on top for the celebrations. These celebrations are traditional in both Germany and Austria and are called the “Topping Up” ceremony. The tree caught the remnants of the balloon, Elmar climbed up and recovered it – Ticket number 19.


Elmar’s latest appointment is as Principal Trumpet of the world-unique Vienna Klezmer Orchestra ( He is married to opera singer Regina Schoerg who is currently in Shanghai appearing in a performance of Richard Strauss’ “Elektra” – the title role! Born in Austria, Regina studied at the Konservatorium der Stadt Wien before she joined the Landestheater in Linz. She has worked at the Vienna Volksoper and then moved on to the Vienna State Opera as a soloist. Internationally, Regina has performed key parts and leading roles at opera houses as far apart as Sydney and San Francisco, Berlin and Beijing, Toronto and Tokyo.

Helping Musicians’

It is so apt that this couple should find the balloon, as Allegro Optical are opticians who also specialise in helping musicians with sight issues.” Allegro Optical uses high-quality lenses by Rodenstock to help many musicians and singers to continue in their career and have extended the working life of many musicians and singers faced with vision problems in later life.


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Spectacular Band performance in Meltham by Stephen Tighe

Brass band Spectacular

The sun certainly had it’s hat on for the grand opening of our Meltham practice on Saturday. The village turned out in force to welcome Allegro Optical to Meltham, and with Diggle “B” Band playing we certainly turned a few heads.

Both Sheryl and I joined the band to play some rousing tunes, which had everyone’s  feet tapping along with the music.

All the staff were in attendance including Stephen Haigh our resident optometrist. Stephen, who had his own opticians practice in Almondbury for 20 years, brings quite a fan club to Allegro Optical in Meltham. Many of his clients attended Saturday’s opening, during which we were raising awareness and funds for the Macular Society.

The Macular Society is an organisation which provides practical and emotional support to people with macular disease. The day’s events included a balloon race raffle, raffle and selfie corner. So far we have raised over £120.00 for the charity and we hope to raise much more over the coming year.

We have been delighted by the warm welcome the village has given us and for the support we have received from the local businesses. We look forward to building a long and happy relationship with all the residents of the village and becoming an integral part of village life.