A popular Horsham dentist who died aged 34 will be remembered for her ‘sense of fun’, ‘beaming smile’ and ‘characteristic laugh’.
Emotional tributes have poured in for Claire Burtenshaw, who worked at East Mews Dental Practice in East Street, passed away after a long battle with cancer on October 20.
“Her unfailingly cheerful manner, sense of fun, characteristic laugh and beaming smile made her an excellent ambassador for dentistry and universally popular with patients and staff,” the practice said in a joint statement.
Claire joined the practice in the spring of 2006 and quickly established an extremely loyal following of patients - many of whom travelled long distances to see her - looked upon her as more of a friend than just their dentist.
On one occasion a patient in his 80s returned to the practice after his treatment with Claire and told the receptionist he thought he was in love.
“She treated all her patients with dignity and respect and always gave everybody her full attention at all times,” the tribute continued.
“As well as being very much a people person, it was also her determination to provide a consistently high level of care that impressed us so much.
“She genuinely did treat her patients as she would wish to be treated.
“She was able to make a very difficult job appear quite easy and her selfless approach won over the most anxious of patients.
“Such generosity of spirit is increasingly rare. Many patients travelled long distances to continue their dental care with her.
“Claire’s parents can feel justifiably proud for raising such a charming and generous young woman, whose standards of honesty, integrity and compassion were so high, giving her the essential qualities for those in the caring professions.”
Her colleagues and friends said Claire deserved to be publicly praised as she had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives.
“It is a tragedy that such a lovely young woman should be taken so long before her time.”
Her parents, Michael and Carol, thanked everyone for their support.
They said: “We are overwhelmed with the kind words we have heard from family friends and people we don’t really know who knew Claire.
“It has been comforting for us at what has been a difficult time.”