A SOUTH Lakes dentist who was 'wholeheartedly committed' to providing an NHS service to everyone has died.

Dr Simon Edward Lewis, of Sedgwick, opened a 'squat' dental practice in Ulverston almost 20 years ago where he remained an integral part after falling ill.

Born in Southport in 1965, the dad-of-two met his dental hygienist wife Sharron at university in Bristol before the pair moved to the Kendal area to start a family.

Friend and business partner Christian Turner, 50, told the Gazette Dr Lewis opened his Fountain Street Dental Practice in September 1997 at a time when "cues of people wanting to see dentists were down the street".

He joined him as a partner the following year and Dr Lewis' wife worked alongside them.

'Inundated' with business, the pair expanded the surgery in 2008 and moved four doors up the street to a practice with five dentists.

A year later Dr Lewis became a mentor through the Northern Deanery and took one newly qualified dentist under his wing a year for four years.

But in 2013 the much-loved dentist was diagnosed with cancer and retired from partnership, remaining an associate and continuing to to look after his NHS patients.

In a statement from the practice, staff said: "Simon provided dental care for thousands of patients across the region, having a particular caring and calming chair side manner which eased the anxiety of many patients.

“Simon was well liked and respected by all his staff and colleagues.

"He was fun to be around and often lifted the spirits of all who worked with him.

“His loss from the practice for both staff and patients will be felt greatly.”

A lover of the outdoors and a big fan of walking through the Munros of Scotland and the Lakes, Dr Lewis was described as 'great fun as a person' with a 'fantastic attitude to life'.

"He was into road cycling, mountain biking and walking with his family and their dog," added Dr Turner. "He will be sadly missed and our thoughts are with his wife Sharron and daughters Megan and Katie.”

Dr Lewis died at home after a 'short battle with cancer' on January 27 at 49 years old.

He leaves behind his wife Sharron and daughters Megan, 16, and Katie, 14.