A WEST Belfast dentist is retiring at the end of this month after 36 years of treating patients in her local community.

Denise Lundy qualified as a dentist 40 years ago and has managed her practice on the Stewartstown Road for 36 years.

She will retire at the end of September, with all patients moving to the care of David Bowen of Bowen Dental Practice, situated nearby on the Stewartstown Road.

Denise says she has mixed emotions about retiring.

"On the one hand, it’s time to retire and take it easy," she explained. "I’ve been qualified for 40 years and have worked here for the last 36 of those years. As my patients keep reminding me, I’ve worked hard and they tell me I deserve the rest.

"Like many people when it comes to retiring, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m somewhat apprehensive about what comes next.

"It’s always been a very busy practice and it has required a lot of time and commitment so adjusting to all this free time might be a bit of a challenge.

"I was born and raised in West Belfast so I’ve always known the great sense of community in the area.  

MOVING ON: Denise Lundy with staff Maria Webb, Tracey Clarke and Danielle McGuigan

MOVING ON: Denise Lundy with staff Maria Webb, Tracey Clarke and Danielle McGuigan

"People are generous in their praise and have always been greatly appreciative of the service I’ve provided for them over the years.  

"I’ve met many great people during my time on the Stewartstown Road and have enjoyed their sense of humour, their kindness and their support and I will most definitely miss this when I leave."

Denise wants to thank all her patients over the years, since first opening the practice in 1987.

"I would like to thank all my patients for their loyalty and commitment to the practice since I first opened, often treating several generations of the same family," she continued.

"I feel very honoured to have been entrusted with this responsibility, but even more than that, I feel privileged to have been allowed to be a small part of many of their lives over the years.

As for retirement plans, Denise says she initially plans to take it easy.

"Honestly, I haven’t really had a chance to think about what I’m going to do," she added.

"I think my first priority will be to have a good long rest and take my time before making any big decisions.  

"My initial thoughts are that I’ll do a bit of travelling, perhaps a bit of voluntary work and a new hobby – not very imaginative but I’m sure I’ll think of something over the next few months."