Tributes paid to well-known Dursley chorister

Dursley Male Voice Choir member Haydn John Henry, who died aged 63 on May 11

Dursley Male Voice Choir member Haydn John Henry, who died aged 63 on May 11

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FRIENDS and family have paid tribute to well-known Dursley chorister who helped raise thousands by organizing Dursley Male Voice Choir's concerts.

Those close to him wrote this tribute to the man, who died on May 11, aged 63.

The life of Haydn Henry – affectionately known as ‘H’ to many - was celebrated in a Memorial Concert at St Bartholomew’s Church, Lower Cam on 20th May, following a family service at Westerleigh.

The occasion was led by Rev. Ian Robb with Paul Phillips, the former accompanist of Dursley MVC, at the organ. Haydn was a popular, respected and well known man in the area, mainly, but not exclusively, through his association with Dursley MVC.

The format of the ‘concert’, as Haydn wished it to be called, was exactly as he constructed it in his final days. That is a measure of the man – a natural organiser and an unrivalled talker.

The three eulogies reflected on the three hugely important aspects of his life – his family, his profession and his choir.

Brian Tocknell, close friend and former chairman of Dursley MVC, shared tales of choir and rugby tours, his choir life and the many friends he made worldwide.

His commitment to the choir was unstinting. Brian reflected on the huge sums of money – almost £20,000 in the last year alone – that was raised for charities through the concerts that Haydn had organised.

Indeed the retiring collection was in aid of ‘Hope for Tomorrow’ which had previously been supported through a DMVC concert in Cheltenham when Haydn persuaded Wynne Evans to perform.

A former colleague, Chris Peck, reflected on Haydn’s career route to the most senior positions with Dalgety and ABN.

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He had many qualities including being a great manager and motivator of people. He expected great things of his colleagues but was always sensitive to their individual needs.

Again his larger than life personality was always evident.

His daughter, Annalee, spoke of her time with her father in his final days when he told her what she might say in her eulogy at his ‘Memorial Concert’, this being a typical of him, being the ultimate planner.

His early days as a baker’s son in Pontyberem in the Gwendraeth Valley, South Wales, his passion for rugby and his country, his love of fast cars and his pride in the successes his family members achieved, were all mentioned.

For her closing words Annalee spoke in Welsh, Haydn’s’ first language, and conveyed the love they have in their hearts for him.

Musical contributions were offered by Mandy Starr, the well-known Welsh professional singer and comedienne, Annalee and Melissa, his daughters and also Mark Llewelyn Evans, the renowned baritone who knew Haydn from their Welsh roots.

His step-daughter Madeleine Harwood sang ‘Fields of Gold’ a capella. Dursley MVC sang ‘Bring him home’, ‘You raise me up’ and ‘Gwahoddiad’, the latter in Welsh, to close the service.

For this DMVC were joined by members of Cȏr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi with whom Haydn had close family links.

It was a fitting that the concert ended with this song which clearly displayed the emotion of the occasion and the respect in which Haydn was held by all who knew him.

It could be no less since all knew that ‘H’ would sit in judgement on the performance.

Haydn leaves behind his wife, Diane, daughters Annalee and Melissa, and step-daughters Madeleine and Jess. The whole family are in the thoughts and prayers of everyone who knew him.

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