WARM tributes have been paid to a caring dentist who served the Andover community for nearly 40 years.

John Ash, of Chilbolton, died following an operation to treat his Crohn’s disease on Saturday, 16 September.

The 84-year-old was a dentist in Andover for 37 years, working at an Alexandra Road practice, though was in the profession for 41 years in total.

The former Andover Golf Club captain was born in Stoke-on-Trent and qualified as a dentist at Liverpool University.

He then completed his national service in the army as a dentist in Germany.

While at university, Mr Ash found that Andover was known as the worst town in the country for its residents’ teeth due to a strong anti-fluoride lobby.

However he joined a practice in Andover in 1959 and was known for prescribing fluoride tablets to the town’s children.

Mr Ash also met his wife, Margaret, while at university and the couple went on to have two children - Penny and Jo.

Daughter, Penny Horobin, said her father loved a party and the family would hold a Christmas do every year at their house.

She said: “He would spend weeks making a Christmas grotto, he would put a lot of effort into it.

“He had a really creative mind. He had a very distinctive laugh and he would strike up a conversation with anybody and everybody.

“We would go out for a meal and we would find out all about the waitress; how old she was, where she lived, if they were single.

“He just loved to chat.”

After he retired, Mr Ash and his wife joined the Andover Bowling Club where they met Sue Milton and her husband and they all became friends.

After Mrs Milton and Mr Ash were widowed the pair became a couple.

Mrs Milton said: “He was good at science. He was very caring and a people person.

“He was very creative in art and painting, everyone got a picture of bluebell fields, which he loved to paint.

“He was very sociable and he was very happy to dress up, he loved parties, and loved to embarrass his grandchildren.”

The great-grandfather-of-five was a passionate sportsman and was also a member of the Whitchurch Longmeadow Indoor Bowls Club.

One of his proudest achievements was reaching the over-60s national pairs finals.

Nigel Bechelet, president of the club, said: “John was a member for many years and achieved many awards for his years of experience indoors and out.

“John was a true gentleman on and off the green and was always helpful towards new bowlers.

“He played in friendly games, in leagues and in many competitive games.

“He became a big, close friend of mine and also a bowling partner in 2007.

“He became our president and will be sadly missed by all the bowlers at Longmedow IBC.

“Our thoughts are with all his family and to Sue at this sad time.”

Mr Ash’s funeral was held Thursday, 5 October at Basingstoke Crematorium.