NOTICE OF DEATH - ALAN HENRY (1947 - 2016)
With great regret we have to report the passing of Alan Henry on Saturday 5 March after a long illness.
There cannot be many, if indeed any, BRDC Members who did not know Alan, either personally or through his extensive writings about our sport which began in 1968 when he persuaded Simon Taylor, then editor of Autosport, that he should be allowed to report on a club meeting at Snetterton. By 1970 Alan was being offered a full time job on the staff of Motoring News, in those days Autosport’s arch rival, covering the major European races such as Formula 2 and sports cars through which he became close to up and coming stars such as Ronnie Peterson, Niki Lauda and Emerson Fittipaldi.
In 1973, just in time for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Alan succeeded Andrew Marriott as MN’s Grand Prix reporter, a race remembered as much for the first lap multiple accident as for Peter Revson’s first victory; two weeks later he was at Zandvoort having to cover the terrible accident to Roger Williamson in the Dutch Grand Prix. At that time Motoring News was the stable mate of Motor Sport which enabled Alan to work at close quarters with the legendary Denis Jenkinson by whom he was deeply influenced. In 1978 he became MN’s Editor.
In 1988 Alan became the Editor of the authoritative Autocourse annual and his assessments of the year’s top 10 drivers always made for stimulating reading. For many years until 2009 Alan was Formula 1 correspondent for the Guardian; he was Editor at Large for F1 Racing and from 1994 to 2012 was Grand Prix Editor of Autocar. For 20 years from 1973 Alan never missed a Grand Prix and his tall, usually beaming figure came to be well known, respected and trusted by all the major players in Formula 1.
In parallel with his career as a journalist, from the mid 1970s Alan was a prolific writer of, and contributor to, motor racing books. One of the first, published in 1975, was Ronnie Peterson – The Story of a Search for Perfection. From the F2 days, Alan and Ronnie had become close friends and the Swedish driver’s death from injuries sustained at Monza in 1978 affected him profoundly. One of Alan’s best pieces is the moving Introduction to ‘Ronnie Peterson – A photographic portrait’ published in 2008. There were many more books, certainly in excess of 50 and quite probably close to 100. In 1985 Alan received the Pierre Dreyfus Award from the Guild of Motoring Writers for Ferrari: The Grand Prix Cars although his personal favourite was his Brabham book in the same series.
If all this was not enough to fill his time Alan, who became an Associate (General) Member of the BRDC in 1995, put himself forward for election to the Board in 2004, one of the first Associate Members to do so. It was a difficult time for the Club and Alan decided that one, three year term was enough.
Members may like to know that a very poignant and moving tribute to Alan is on the McLaren Honda website www.mclaren.com/formula1/inside-the-mtc/alan-henry-F1-scribe
Although his increasingly debilitating illness had meant that he had been unable to travel to F1 races for the last few years, Alan always ensured that he came to the British Grand Prix. The BRDC extends its condolences to Alan’s wife and family and to his many friends in the world of motor racing.
Following a private cremation there will be a service of thanksgiving for Alan on Thursday 31 March at 2pm at St Mary's Church, Burnham on Crouch, Essex CM0 8QB. Family flowers only. Donations to Parkinson's UK, c/o Paul J King FD, 10 Station Road, Burnham on Crouch, Essex CM0 8BG or online at http://alan.henry.muchloved.com/.