Dentist Tony Russell has retired after 43 years of keeping teeth pearly white.

The 66-year-old became a dentist in 1971, starting his career in Salisbury and working in various practices around the county before settling in Marlborough 23 years ago.

He waved goodbye to the Savernake Forest Dental Practice in Marlborough on Friday with around 100 patients turning up bid him farewell.

He said: “We had a lovely day on Thursday up at Coles [restaurant] and we had quite a good bash at the practice on Friday evening.

“I think I was given enough bottles of wine to have another party.

“I shall miss the companionship of all my colleagues but we shall keep in touch.”

Among those he said farewell to was his nurse of 20 years Bonnie Day.

“She is a very dear friend,” he said.

The father-of-three wanted to become a dentist ever since he was a young boy growing up in Birmingham.

He said: “I was interested ever since I was a patient. There were one or two things that interested me in my school years and I thought that being a dentist was more rewarding than becoming a doctor unless you specialise and become a consultant.

“I always wanted to do something with my hands and I thought this would be the best way to do that and earn a good bit of money too.”

Mr Russell, who lives with his wife, Andy, 65, in Calne, has a lot to keep him busy over the coming months.

He said: “We’re having some work done on the house and we’ve got a big family wedding in August for my youngest son Ben so it will be busy. My eldest son, Tim, lives in Australia but he will be coming over for it with the grandchildren.”

When Mr Russell joined the Savernake practice it was next to the Marlborough Medical Practice in George Lane and in 2011 it moved to Marlborough Business Park.

His post will be taken up by Alastair Hetherington, 27, who grew up in Ogbourne Maizey and, like Tony, trained at Bristol University.