Tributes paid to Sulgrave farmer, motor dealer and charity worker

Rodney Henn. NNL-190502-164502001
Rodney Henn. NNL-190502-164502001

Popular and well-respected farmer, motor dealer and charity worker Rodney Henn has died aged 72.

Mr Henn was born on Christmas Eve, 1946, in Wigginton. He lived most of his life in Sulgrave but spent his early married life in Woodford Halse, followed by a time in Chacombe Road, Middleton Cheney.

Mr Henn moved back to Sulgrave to live in Eagles Court, a house he designed and built. He married Sue in 1970 and the couple had three children, Jonathan, Robert and Phillipa.

Despite getting divorced the pair remained good friends until his death on January 22 at the Horton General Hospital.

After leaving school, Mr Henn worked for a time for Banbury Buildings and then Brackley Motors, after which he set up his own garage business in 1969 in Sulgrave. 

The business moved to Middleton Cheney and eventually took on a SEAT dealership then later a Tata dealership, until Mr Henn decided to concentrate on used vehicles. 

He was well known for his van sales and personal service.

His son, Robert Henn, said: “Throughout this time Rodney continued to work on the family farm which is mainly arable and with a few beef cattle and the farm continues to this day in this vein.

“He was happiest when on the farm and when he retired from the motor trade in 2009 he worked there full time.”

The garage business still exists under the stewardship of Robert and is now known as R Henn Motors.

Mr Henn was introduced to the Banbury Lions Club by the architect Jack Moore, and was a devoted member of that organisation for 29 years, during which time he enjoyed a spell as its president. 

“He was a big supporter of fundraising events from swimathons to sponsored fun rides, raising thousands of pounds for charity,” said Robert Henn.

For many years he worked backstage starting with the Sharon Ulla Dance Academy. 

Phillipa said: “This led to him becoming stage manager for Banbury Operatic Society, Harlequins of Cropredy and Lynden Players of Middleton Cheney, where he made many firm friends.

“Following his retirement in 2009 he spent many hours helping Katharine House Hospice, including putting out signs for their events.

“He always remembered to take them down after the events.”

Mr Henn will be fondly remembered for the many good deeds he performed in his life. He will be greatly missed by family and friends.

He leaves his children, grandchildren Meg and Jess and his sister, Valerie.

Mr Henn’s family invite all those who knew him to join a celebration of his life at St James the Less Church, Sulgrave on Friday at 2.30pm and afterwards at The Bowling Green.

Family flowers only but donations welcomed for Katharine House and Banbury Lions Club (Provision of Defibrillator and Diabetes UK) via Humphris Funerals, 32 Albert Street, Banbury OX16 5DG.