Tributes flow after Gympie Show icon ‘Hendy’ dies
THE Gympie region is mourning the loss of the man known as "the voice of the Gympie Show" - Alain "Hendy" Henderson.
Mr Henderson was reported to be gravely ill in hospital on the Sunshine Coast late last week, and the Gympie District Show announced his passing on Sunday morning.
"It is with deepest sadness we mourn the passing of our much loved icon of the Gympie Show Mr Alain Henderson, or Hendy as he was known," the Show's Facebook post stated.
"Hendy was an integral part of the horse community, he had the greatest knowledge of the competing horses, including blood lines and achievements. He followed the progress of the riders throughout the years, and was a pony club patron.
"He spent a lifetime announcing at local shows and horse events, often working all day and into the night.
"Hendy retired from announcing at the Gympie Show in 2017, but remained a presence at our events, the last being the Bull n Bronc in February this year.
"Farewell Hendy. We will miss you immeasurably. Thank you for your unyielding dedication."
Mr Henderson had reportedly been ill for several months and was last week in hospital near family.
The 2018 Gympie Senior Citizen of the Year had the Gympie Show Ring entrance named in his honour to recognise his decades of dedication to the community.
He was also a successful livestock agent, commentator and an integral part of the Kia Ora and Districts Pony Club.
Hundreds of tributes poured in for a "well loved and respected" man following the Show's Facebook announcement:
Kayley Sprott: Such sad news, Hendy will be deeply missed by many.
Tom Grady: Alain was a personal & business acquaintance & friend to Lyn & I over many decades. His extraordinary contribution to the Show Society & the Gympie community cannot be overstated.
Kathy Alexander: What a bloody legend you were Hendy. Such an amazing man with an amazing sense of humour.
Kerry Aitken: A well loved and respected man. I first met him as a child riding at the Gympie Show. Recently we met up and he still knew my horses names and achievements.
Leanne Hughes: For me I knew the Gympie Show had started when I could hear Hendy announcing in the ring.
Family member Keli-Anne Turley McCowan paid public tribute to a "beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather".
"We are so very proud of his brilliant career. He asked us to say a huge thank you to the wonderful people and generations of families who have touched and enriched his life," Ms McGowan wrote.
"He was a truly inspirational Gentleman and a great Australian who we were are proud and blessed to call our Dad and Pop."
Ms McGowan said "Hendy's" family would be holding a "private family farewell", with more information to come on a separate, public memorial service once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
The Gympie Times would like to send our best wishes to Mr Henderson's family and friends during this time.