I understand that the British Orthodontic Society made an announcement last night and so I feel it is now safe and respectful to add my own comments.
Last Thursday was, as many of you know, my birthday and after a lovely day of celebration I arrived at my Manchester apartment to find urgent messages to call Ashley Latter.
On reaching him at 23:00 that evening, he explained to me that Viren Patel had passed away earlier in the day.
Viren was principal of the award-winning Orthodontic Centre in Cardiff, a former client and good friend.
Like many I am deeply shocked by the news.
Now is not perhaps the time for eulogies, but I cannot let this news pass without making reference to many of the qualities that made Viren stand out from the crowd:

  • his passion and enthusiasm for people and for business
  • his charismatic leadership skills
  • his innovation in the business of dentistry
  • his willingness to share
  • his respect for and pride in his team
  • his dedication to excellence
  • his wicked sense of humour
  • his sheer professionalism

I’m sure that many will echo these sentiments over the days ahead.
When the shock and sadness subside, I will remember Viren with a smile on my face.
He was an early-adopter and one of the original dentists who gave me a break when I was building my visibility and reputation in UK dentistry.
It could be argued that hiring me nowadays is an obvious choice for those who appreciate my style – back in the late 90’s Viren was one of the “few” who didn’t know much about me or my message but decided to invest and find out – without people like him I wouldn’t be where I am now in business.
Whenever we bumped into each other at dinners, conferences and meetings, he was always interested to hear how I was and what I was doing, unlike so many others who simply want to give you a list of their own achievements, or problems.
And in a world of mediocrity, I can truly say that whenever I worked with or met the team at The Orthodontic Centre, it was in plain view that his girls worshipped the ground he walked on and were proud to be part of his team.
Viren, you were an all-round super bloke and I’ll be one of many who will miss you.
I gave all of my loved ones a hug this weekend and then I counted my blessings.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.