Scores of classic cars expected to join a funeral cortege for Banburyshire businessman Robert Henn who has died aged 44

Scores of classic cars are expected to follow the funeral procession for Robert Henn - a well known and much loved businessman who grew up in Sulgrave.

Robert Henn, who has died aged 44
Robert Henn, who has died aged 44

Mr Henn passed away suddenly at home December 27. His funeral takes place next Tuesday, January 26 and the classic car procession has been coordinated by his niece Meg Targett.

Following his father Rodney's death in 2019, Robert had continued the family business as R Henn Motors and was highly thought of by his customers.

Mr Henn was born on July 17, 1976 in the Horton Maternity Hospital. He was the middle child of Sue and Rodney. From an early age Rob very much followed in his father's footsteps, always mimicking his car sales tactics, practising on his brother Jonathan.

Robert Henn, whose funeral cortege will be followed by a procession of classic and retro cars

His mother said: "Rob's piercing blue eyes and blond hair made him a real charmer. As a toddler he had many ladies wrapped around his little finger. This charm continued throughout his life, which is shown by his many long term friendships."

A moment always fondly remembered by his mum is of a snowy day in Sulgrave when she sent him off to school in a duffel coat, wellies and carrying his lunch box. As he walked down the driveway she told him he looked like Paddington Bear, at which point he threw the lunchbox across the garden, took off the coat and vowed never to wear it again.

Robert attended Sulgrave primary school, then Chenderit from where he went to Northampton College to study hotel management. Although he never followed this career path, he continued his love of cooking and baking, making many birthday cakes for friends and family.

Working for Talkland, which became Vodafone, he met some of his closest and most enduring friendships. At the age of 23 his health took a turn for the worse and after some time he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. The illness took a great toll on him, resulting in him leaving Vodafone and working for his father.

Robert Henn as a youngster on board his pony Rupert

His mother said: "They were two strong minded people with different ideas for the business and there were some explosive discussions. Somehow humour would overcome these issues and peace was always restored."

"As time went on Rob's health worsened and had to have an operation to remove his colon. Rob was very worried about the operation but in true Rob style he put on a brave face and took it like a champ.

"There were problems during the procedure resulting in Rob contracting MRSA, sepsis and a perforated bowel. He needed a further three operations, during which time he spent eight days in a coma. He faced a long road to recovery with humour and stoicism and began to enjoy a new lease of life."

Five years ago Mr Henn's health once again started to deteriorate but throughout all this he kept the business going with the help of his 'lads' as he called them. Even when he couldn't get in to work he was continually in touch with his very valued customers. About 18 months ago he was told he had Crohn's Disease rather than Ulcerative Colitis.

Mrs Henn said: "He became very close to the Gastro team and Rowan Ward at the Horton and was very appreciative of what they did for him.

"Rob took on the family business when Rodney retired and when he moved to Waters Lane in Middleton Cheney, many loyal customers followed. Rob was always passionate about helping people if he could, both in his personal and his business life and this was reflected in the great loyalty shown by customers."

When his father passed away in 2019 Rob stepped up as head of the family, being their rock and the glue holding them together.

"Many people have spoken about their late night Facebook chats when he and they couldn't sleep," said Mrs Henn.

"Rob had the gift of always being there for people when they needed him and knowing just what to say. During the Covid situation he has cheered family and friends by sending little parcels to cheer them up. He will be greatly missed."

For anyone who would like to show their respects to Robert Henn on his final journey followed by the long line of classic and retro cars, the procession will be starting at Burgess Farm from 10.30am on Tuesay and driving through Middleton Cheney passing the New Inn, turning to pass the primary and secondary school.

Ms Targett said on social media: "It would be great to have a great turnout of people. Family and friends wish to thank you all for your kind wishes and support through what has been the most difficult time."