High flyer wins UK Dental Industry Employee of the Year months after being killed in tragic Zim road crash

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ENGLAND: A mum has paid tribute to her daughter who died after a car accident while on holiday. Monica Matanda, of Hucknall, worked at Community Dental Services CIC Nottinghamshire.

She who was crowned Dental Industry Employee of the Year for all her hard work months after she sadly passed away. The dental therapist was described as having made a “considerable contribution” to the profession.

Sadly the 34 year old passed away following a car accident during a holiday to Zimbabwe in April 2022. Her mum, Sarah Zendera, said: “She was working when the accident happened, she was working even though she was on holiday, that’s how much she loved her job.”

Monica was entered into the awards posthumously for her work, and she had also been following a pioneering Dental Clinical Leadership Fellowship Programme for Dental Care Professionals, becoming one of the first ever DCP fellows in the Midlands and East regions.


Sarah said: “When she finished school at 18 she was offered a place to do pharmacy at De Montfort University but she decided to take a gap year, so when she took the gap year she ended up going into dentistry and she started of as a dental nurse. She liked it and then went to Dundee University where she did a dental hygienist course in Dundee.

“Then when she qualified she was offered a job at a private practice, but she didn’t like it there so she ended up joining an NHS one. Then after a couple of years it was taken over by CPS.” Monica had been working in the industry for more than a decade, and was keen to continue helping people.

Monica Matanda pictured with her family
Monica Matanda pictured with her family (Image: Family picture)

Helen Paisley, Chief Executive Officer, hosted the local ceremony: “I was very pleased and proud to be able to attend the celebration and to formally hand over the trophy for the Dentistry Industry Employee of the Year.

“We collected the award posthumously on behalf of Monica in recognition of the work she had done nationally to raise the profile of dental therapists and locally with our own teams and patients.

“CDS employees were able to meet Monica’s family and together were able to celebrate the very considerable contribution she made to CDS and to her profession.”

Following the awards event, Monica’s family visited the CDS Park House clinic to see a memorial bench installed by colleagues in honour of Monica. When she wasn’t working her mum explained that she also “liked cooking” and if you went to her house you were “sure to be looked after.”

Monica sadly leaves behind her husband Brian, their two year old daughter Shania, her parents and brother.