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What are your memories of Sir Henry Cooper?

22:09 UK time, Sunday, 1 May 2011

Boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper has passed away at the age of 76 at his son's house in Oxted, Surrey. What is his legacy?

The former English, Commonwealth and European heavyweight champion fought 55 times and is revered for his knockdown of Muhammad Ali in 1963.

Alongside Frank Bruno, Tommy Farr and Lennox Lewis, Cooper is considered as one of the great British heavyweights.

What are your memories of Sir Henry Cooper? Did you ever meet him? Send us your comments.

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.


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  • Comment number 1.

    What a sad day. I used to love Henry on TV, not only in boxing, but the famous Brut adverts. He was a childhood hero of mine and I am stunned at the news today. My thoughts are with his family and I thank god for giving us such a wonderful person!

    May your memory live on

  • Comment number 2.

    A true great who was not pretentious like some in his sport!

  • Comment number 3.

    he had glass jaw but he was the man
    me and my old man god bless his soul ,loved this man
    RIP Henry

  • Comment number 4.

    Always a sad day when a hero and true gentleman passes. Self deprecating, humerous, and true to his roots. "Our Enery" will be sorely missed.

  • Comment number 5.

    oops i said glass jaw i meant got cut easily but he was still as god

  • Comment number 6.

    Henry was an icon of my adolescence. He did good.

  • Comment number 7.

    Henry cooper was a great man in every way he used to come to my seafood stall in tonbridge and buy his seafood and we chatted on a few occasions what a great man and l for one will miss him , i was honered to have spoken to him , r.i.p henry,

  • Comment number 8.

    Sad to to see the passing of a sportsman one of a few who can truly be called a legend always came across as sincere and honest during and after his boxing carreer

  • Comment number 9.

    this man will be missed not because he was a icon in the boxing world but because he was a true man

  • Comment number 10.

    my thoughts are with his wife & family , at the sad loss of a true sportsman and a real hero ,

  • Comment number 11.

    I met Henry Cooper for the first time last year where he was guest speaker at a sportsmans dinner, I spoke with him during an interval and was amazed at how fit he kept himself, he was a joy to speak with as I followed his career from the early sixties to retirement, a true gent who will be greatly missed.

  • Comment number 12.

    He was light as a heavyweight, so his true greatness is somewhat obscured. Nobody had a better short left hook in his time.

  • Comment number 13.

    What a sad loss to British boxing and British sport. A true gentleman of the ring, robbed of retiring with his titles intact by a scandalous decision by Harry Gibbs but Henry never showed a trace of bitterness. With his punching power, he'd have been a legend as a cruiserweight today. A great hero of mine and I'm truly sad.

  • Comment number 14.

    In the 1960s my wife and I lived in Alperton and we would walk up to Wembley High Street with our children every Saturday, to buy our greengrocery from Henry who had a shop in partnership with his brother. I was a boxing fan then, but in his shop, where he shuffled around as if training, he just served up our potatoes and cabbage as an unpreposessing shop assistant. Nice guy, as totally focussed on serving his customers in that shop as he was when in the ring fighting. RIP mate!

  • Comment number 15.

    I was thinking about him today due to the UFC fixture here in Toronto. I was lamenting the loss of the 'gentleman' boxers of my youth and our 'Enery came to mind. A sad, sad loss of a truly great sportsman and a very fondly remembered icon of boxing.

  • Comment number 16.

    You were the same generation as my Dad and uncles, and uncannily looked very similar. Dad was an army boxer and you were a hero to us all, and an understated toughman. We all loved watching you fight and cheered you on, but never what was that after-shave all about?

  • Comment number 17.

    A great boxer and a lovely man. The two don't always go together, but Henry was the perfect example of both.

  • Comment number 18.

    When young,I saw Henry Cooper box at Wembley against Jose Urtain,and the support he received from the crowd was fantastic,the synchronised "'Enry,'Enry"seemed to make an already great boxer perform even better.I also had the misfortune of attending the fight when Henry "lost" to Joe Bugner,a bigger sporting injustice I haven't seen in the forty intervening years.Henry was a true gentleman,man of the people and a great credit to his sport.A very sad day for those who saw him fight or had the fortune to know him.

  • Comment number 19.

    What a sad day for english sport; today's sportsmen don't appreciate what they have and the privileged lives they leave. It would do them good to take a leaf out of 'our 'Enry's book'; what a marvellous advert he was for the sport of boxing and what a true gentleman. Goodnight and God bless Henry, thanks for your contribution to British sport and to our lives R.I.P.

  • Comment number 20.

    I have never liked boxing. I think it barbaric and pointless...but...Henry Cooper played the game....retired with his brain intact and made a success of his post boxing life. I remember him on question of sport....always a fighter but never less than a gentleman.

  • Comment number 21.

    RIP. A true man.

  • Comment number 22.

    A gentleman of giant stature.

    This person proves that in loosing gracefully, one can be a winner.
    A huge, stout and brave heart.

    Mum used to watch him on TV and swing punches as he boxed.
    He certainly won many British Hearts, including my Folks'.

    Well done Sir Henry Cooper. and Thanks: Kelly.

  • Comment number 23.

    I had the privilege to meet Sir Henry Cooper at Kings Cross railway station once and he was very friendly. I admired him as a person and as a sportsman. Henry will be missed by the British public whether or not they are boxing fans. As well as being a knight of the realm he was also a Papal Count.

  • Comment number 24.

    'Enry' was what is best about the British.A true Gent who will not be forgotten. God Bless you Enry

  • Comment number 25.

    I was born a year after the first Clay fight, but grew up out of the 60s and into the 70s with 'Our 'Enry' as an icon of that era. If it wasn't through Harry Carpenter on Sportsnight or Grandstand, it was on Sports Personality of the Year with David Coleman or David Vine, as a guest on Parkinson or Morecambe and Wise, captain on Question of Sport; or a Mike Yarwood impersonation, so it seemed. '66, Wembley, The Italian Job, The Persuaders, Jackie Stewart, Monte Carlo, The FA Cup Final on both tv channels at 3.00 pm on a Saturday afternnon, Dick Emery, The Two Ronnies and so on, are some of the automatic images that come to my my mind of that era. And Henry is right up there with the best things I remember from that time. Sadly, a good few have beaten him to it, but thanks for the memories, Henry. They will never die. RIP

    My condolences to Henry's family.

  • Comment number 26.

    A true gentleman, a sporting hero younger generations could look up to.

  • Comment number 27.

    British Hero . loved by all . a loss by all . A Working Mans Hero ... You Will Be Missed By All ;-(

  • Comment number 28.

    I remember bumping into Henry, as a small boy, after a surprise appearance at a variety show at Battersea Arts Centre, in the early 1970's. He exited the stage door at the time that myself and my Dad passed it. He kindly stopped for a chat, and I remember wishing him good luck in the future. What a thoroughly engaging man, and, one of the true personalities of the sport, post career, too.

    RIP, Henry. Your like are very few and far between.

  • Comment number 29.

    Both Henry and his brother were special people. What you saw was what you got. May they never be forgotten.

  • Comment number 30.

    RIP Sir Henry. You will be missed.

  • Comment number 31.

    Our 'Enry. A true legend. RIP

  • Comment number 32.

    I'm not a fan of boxing, but I'll never forget the somewhat surreal interview with Enery I was sent to do when I was working as a journalist for a radio station in Liverpool in 1974; Enery was in the middle of the "Brut tour" and I met him in John Lewis's store; he towered above me as I pointed the microphone at him and I remember the thought that struck me: "What a gentle, impeccably-mannered giant." Sad day.

  • Comment number 33.

    Always came across as such a decent, down to earth guy, RIP Sir Henry, one of the immortals.

  • Comment number 34.

    Splash it all over.....

  • Comment number 35.

    I lived near Wembley where he had a greengrocers shop & he served his customers as if he was an ordinary guy. Also, I saw him at a charity golf tournament, he was walking down the left-hand side of the fairway & spotted me on the right-hand side. He crossed the fairway, signed my programme & then crossed back again to play his shot. He could have walked on & pretended I wasn't there. He was a great man & he will be badly missed. R.I.P. Sir Henry.

  • Comment number 36.

    As a young lad who loved his father, a former amateur Geordie boxer, I recognised in Wor Henry what I loved in my dad - honesty, bravery and endeavour - now I shall miss them both. I hope they meet in the ring above - and shake hands, my dad was a champion to me but a fan of Henry.

  • Comment number 37.

    When Henry met Harry...again?

    It happened today.

    Thank's Sir Henry for so all your special moments in boxing...especially your Ali's knockdown moment. RIP.

  • Comment number 38.

    I met Sir Henry Cooper at a 'Sportsman Dinner at an Officers Mess in Aldershot, it was my job to meet and greet at the front door, I found the guy very friendly and really just a nice person, at the end of the night he would not leave until he had said goodnight to me....I was the mess Sgt. Yes I remember him an absolute gent. Good night Enry RIP

  • Comment number 39.

    Apart from his sporting abilities, I remember him when he lost a lot of money after investing on the Lloyds insurance market, and had to sell his trophies and belts and other memorabilia. There was no moaning when he was interviewed about the sale. He just said it it was a gamble he lost - he could have made money, but he lost out, due to his own poor judgement at the time. No asking for bailouts or somebody else to blame. It is a shame others cannot have the same graciousness and take the same responsibility for their own actions, something that seems to have been lost in both todays sporting and financial worlds.

  • Comment number 40.

    I met Sir Henry when I was a boy in the 70s at Woolworths in Newport doing a promotional Brut/book signing. He was a bit of a hero of mine back then, and still is. A truely lovely man who had time for everyone. God bless you Henry.
    (the only other book signing I have ever been to was for Joe Calzaghe 2 years ago!)
    British is BEST!

  • Comment number 41.

    Oh how very sad to come back home from a great cricket festival here in Philadelphia and learn this news. For me he was a lifelong hero. I was 10 years-old and boxing at boarding school the night of the infamous knockdown and knockout of Cassius Clay other than for Angelo Dundee's slit glove. It was during the holidays and my dear mum knew it meant so much to me that she set her alarm clock, woke me up and let me watch the fight at, what was it, 4am? I cried that night....

  • Comment number 42.

    As Ali so aptly said, Sir Henry Cooper was more than a great boxer. He was also a true gentleman. And there are precious few of those around these days in any sport. Thanks for giving us all those wonderful memories, 'Enery! Rest in peace. You're in God's corner now.

  • Comment number 43.

    Henry's the same age as my Dad . . I remember all of his fights . . he was a great man inside and outside of boxing . . Ali's comments are so complementary to all that he was . . I still have my Dad and my heart goes out to the Cooper family.

  • Comment number 44.

    I played golf witrh Sir Enery manytimes in spain. A true
    gentleman. I remember my brother in law was a fanatic fan
    an and was visiting me in spain and at the clubhouse in
    La Manga we were in the piano bar and Henry came in. My brother in law was absolutely in awe, and this is a man at the
    time who was in his 50's, and I asked him if he would like
    to meet Henry. He did'nt believe I knew him but I went up
    and asked Henry if he could please make a little fuss over
    my brother in law, He agreed straight away. I will never
    forget my many happy memories and times on the golf course with him.
    A really sad day .

  • Comment number 45.

    Is'nt it amazin how someone who represents so much to so many people- is not known... AT millions of people around the world...He's only Henry Cooper..he cud av been called Jesus...but there ARE enuff people who do know of shout his name for years to come...our hero ..our 'enery... a modern day role model...makes ya proud to be alive ..never mind British....the most famous wot if...? ever..He is the epitome of the' to be number 1' is not the be all and end all..its how you conduct yourself in the pursuit of your chosen path....they will put a up a monument to this Trafalgar square....rejoice people.. the king is dead....where is the next one..?See More

  • Comment number 46.

    Sad sad day for the boxing world 1 of britains best true gent.

  • Comment number 47.

    Henry & Albina were close family friends.My father,Mel Tillman was a Water Rat,& my mother,Malka,was a Dame Ratling. Gentleman Henry & Gorgeous Albina came to my 40th Birthday Party & my Wedding Party. My wife, Janine, an Australian Concert Pianist, played at my 40th,& they were both so warm towards us. Henry gave us his signed Book Of Boxing as a present,which we have always treasured. I would be most grateful,if this message could be forwarded To Albina,as Janine & I will always cherish the moments spent with them. Love, Tim x

  • Comment number 48.

    A true British gent who was admired and respected by everyone. They don't make 'em like Henry too often and he helped put the 'Great' in Great Britain. A character who transcended age groups and will be sorely missed right around the globe. Here in Thailand we are all in mourning, which just goes to show how far the respect he earned reached. A more deserving Knighthood there never was.

  • Comment number 49.

    I got to see Henry at an event once and he had such an aura, he just rose above his sport in a warm and genuine way.
    He was rare and loved.

  • Comment number 50.

    Sir Henry. A great man who will be truly missed R.I.P

  • Comment number 51.

    Good night Sir Henry we have lost a legend RIP

  • Comment number 52.

    R.I.P Enry great boxer and personality you will be sadly missed

  • Comment number 53.

    R.I.P to a household name who lived up to his reputation , a true gent and sporting legend.

  • Comment number 54.

    In Wembley in the 1960's, Henry was a popular sight and was regarded as local royalty. We always went to see if he was serving in his greengrocers shop at the top of the Ealing Road. What an example of a sporting gentle-man he set. It has been matched by few since.

  • Comment number 55.

    I remember listening to Henry fight Cassius Cly on a small transistor radio under the sheets of my bed whilst staying with my gran. He was a hero from that day on.

  • Comment number 56.

    such a lovely man we knocked on his door one day and asked if he would attend a charity day at our local club,he checked his diary and we could not believe it when he said yes, we picked him up and he came to my house then spent a few hours at the club with us for the charity day, a reel gent rip henry xxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Comment number 57.

    I am not a boxing fan but I always thought of Mr Cooper as a true gent.

  • Comment number 58.

    few British sportsmen have ever earned the respect of everyone as much as 'Our Enry' did. There was never a taint of unsporting behaviour about him or any scandal about his private life. He splashed a lot of happiness all over his fans. What a man he was. One of two great Coopers , who entertained their fans,we have lost, the other being Tommy

  • Comment number 59.

    Back in the 80's I attended a Geoff Boycott testinonial in Bradford.In the interval, everyone rushed into the toilets.A booming voice from behind shouted " quick the place is on fire " he stepped in without queueing ! hilarious ! No-one challenged him.Fond memories - a real gent.

  • Comment number 60.

    I always liked Henrys down to earth honesty and Henrys hammer even made Cassius Clay have to step up his game to win having been dumped on his rear end. I still wonder about the split glove fiasco and I reckon Henry could well have won if he had not been prone to cutting up.
    As a ambassador for UK sport he was brilliant and a real gentleman good on you Enry

  • Comment number 61.

    Henry thankyou

  • Comment number 62.

    The EPITOME of a great ENGLISHMAN. I really admired him. Condolences to the family.

  • Comment number 63.

    A very sad day. The passing of a true gentleman and he was part of my boyhood. He will always be remembered.

  • Comment number 64.

    Like so many others, I remember Henry working in his greengrocers shop. I would catch the number 83 bus from Ealing to Wembley and it would often stop on the hill just before the traffic lights, right outside his shop. There he would be, the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion, serving customers and chatting with people. No pretences. No 'airs and graces'. Just a 'normal' bloke. He was a true sportsman - fighting for the love of the sport and knowing that his sport and real life were 2 different things. A humble and decent man.

    How many of today's 'sportsmen' (from any field) have such an attitude? Very few, I would suggest.....

    He will be sadly missed but his memory will live on. R.I.P.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    Henry Cooper was a gentleman in every sense of the word, he`ll be sadly missed.

  • Comment number 67.

    I met Sir Henry Cooper on the day he came to Woolwich to open a new Co-operative store. It was my job to organise the media teams and set up photo-opportunities with CWS staff members. On a one-to-one, he was the most pleasant and quietly unassuming gentleman you could hope to wish - not that Muhammad Ali would have seen it quite the same way...

  • Comment number 68.

    What a sad loss of a true gentleman,and great boxer ,a humble gentleman from the old school who was admired and respected by everyone, not just boxing fans, that was when boxing was boxing, not as a circus as of today,

    My deepest condolences to his lady wife and all his family,

  • Comment number 69.

    A true gent and englishman a very rare breed these days , RIP ENRY a good strong boy

  • Comment number 70.

    Many years ago I bumped into Sir Henry whilst he was walking his dog in north west London. It was one of those moments when you recognise someone but are not sure if it is who you think it is. I stopped him and asked if he was indeed Henry Cooper and we spent a glorious few minutes chatting. My over-riding memory is of a wonderfully warm gentleman who seemed as interested in me as I was in him. The world has lost a great man - not merely a great athlete - but a great human being. RIP Sir Henry.

  • Comment number 71.

    As a small boy growing up in South London I used to get the bus up to the Becket in the Old Kent Road, walk up the side stairs to the gym above the pub, perch myself in one of the window alcoves and watch Henry train. I did this many times. He was at the top of his career but he always took time out to say hello and made me feel completely welcome to be there even though I just turned up. I'll never forget the sight of this world class athlete on the speed ball and speed skipping. He was a wonderful man.

  • Comment number 72.

    Henry Cooper was such a likeable character. In my teens (the late 1970s) his tongue-in-cheek appearances in TV ads, "Splash it all over", are fond memories. Often self mocking, and loved all the more for it. He was of the same generation as my parents (who died some years ago) and I feel quite sad at Henry Cooper's death; the passing of an era.

  • Comment number 73.

    I will always remember Sir Henry as his voice was very distinguished, the famous "splash it on" Brut adverts and his fight with the famous Cassius Clay.
    Aways to be remembered. Goodnight Henry

  • Comment number 74.

    He was a childhood hero, a very special sporting figure with that very great attribute - he was a gentleman.
    Admired throughout sport as a great talent he will be greatly missed. He had that uncanny ability to make you smile whenever he appeared and I will miss him immensely but will remember him as a great man who achieved much.

  • Comment number 75.

    'Our Enery' and his brother owned the a greengrocers shop in Wembley and both served in the shop even after 'Our Enery' became famous. he really was a local man and very friendly to all who knew him, sadly missed.

  • Comment number 76.

    A very sad day. Henry met my father many years ago and then I was lucky enough to meet him at a promotional day with my husband. A true gentleman in every respect, polite and humble. My condolences to his family.

  • Comment number 77.

    A true champion, well done 'Enery' you've served your sport and country above the call of duty. Thanks for all the great memories. Boxing will be the poorer for your passing.

  • Comment number 78.

    when asked about his fight with casius clay, he said , he's the best boxer the world has ever seen and i put him on his bum. R I P Henry

  • Comment number 79.

    A great british champion and a gentleman his passing reminds us of when boxing was a sport.

  • Comment number 80.

    As I know little about Boxing, I'll remember him as a professional cockney nice-guy.

    It's possible, I suppose, that history will put him down as the one of the first (or perhaps THE first?) British sports persons to find a satisfactory answer to the question: "Okay, my sporting career is over, how can I stay famous and continue to earn a good living?".

    RIP Henry.

  • Comment number 81.

    The world is a poorer place this morning.
    As well as a left hook that dropped 'Cass the Gas' Henry had a massive amount of courage mixed with humanity.
    Right now I can't think of any so called 'celebrity' that comes close to the legacy he leaves.
    RIP Sir Henry

  • Comment number 82.

    As your headline says, a legend, also a gentleman and sportsman

  • Comment number 83.

    Sad news, a true British icon, sports stars of today should look at this man as a role model, RIP Henry.

  • Comment number 84.

    One of life's gentleman and characters. Its a pity there has been nothing mentioned on BBC breakfast this morning as the whole programme has been designated to the Bin Laden. Don't get me wrong here. It's great that Bin Laden has gone but to dedicate a whole news programme to this when people like Henry have departed is wrong. There is other news to report on. I hope people turn out in their force to remember Henry, he was respected all over the world. Splash them all over Henry. Condolences also to his family.

  • Comment number 85.

    I met Sir Henry while on holiday in hayling island, I was about 13 at the time, he was great with us kids so patient. True gent as others say. My grandfather was a great fan of Sir Henry and I could always remember when he came on tv I would run to find my my grandfather. R.I.P Sir Henry

  • Comment number 86.

    A very dignified man, and got his moment in history when he floored Muhammad Ali with his "hammer" (at 3:00), the incomparable Harry Carpenter is commentating.

    Surprised us all a bit with a string of corny Brut33 adverts in the 1970s.

    Rest in Peace Henry, you were one of a kind.

  • Comment number 87.

    Memories, memories of big fights and big men. Never the best heavyweight in the world but always one that you just knew had the skill and was capable of dropping any heavyweight in the world with his left hand. Henry was everyone's favourite. He came over as a thoroughly nice guy. The UK will never find another heavyweight with the personal qualities of Henry Cooper.

  • Comment number 88.

    enry was a true gentle giant,one of the true greats that will live in the hearts and minds of the british public forever,an inspiration to all who would aspire to greatness.r.i.p

  • Comment number 89.

    everyone loved our henry a true londoner allways ready with a quip allways did his best in and out of the ring,will be remembered long after his passing ,r.i p

  • Comment number 90.

    a lovely gentle man.

  • Comment number 91.

    Firstly my condolences to his family.

    What a loss to sport, a true gentleman in every sense of the word. In a world inhabited by celebrity sports persons, here was a man who always remained down to earth and a true role model.

    I remember meeting him as a young boy (still have the photo) and what a lovely guy. He was one of my Grandfather's heroes but to shy to speak to him. However, after I asked, Henry came over and chatted with him and gave my Grandfather one of his fondest memories. Such a warm and lovely person who will be remembered as much for his bubbly and down-to-earth character and personality as his exploits in the ring.

  • Comment number 92.

    Lovely man and a real gent of the old school.
    Farewell, our 'Enry.

  • Comment number 93.

    What a very very sad day not just for British Boxing but Boxing Worldwide.A true Gentleman will be Sadly Missed

  • Comment number 94.

    I remember buying potatoes from him in his greengrocer's shop in Wembley.

    A scholar and a gent who never felt himself above the ordinary man. And didn't we all enjoy watching him floor the arrogant Mr Clay...

    RIP 'Enry

  • Comment number 95.

    Rest in peace Henry - a true gentle giant and wonderful sporting character.

  • Comment number 96.

    A gentleman, not a scholar, but genuine down to the earth on the floor.

  • Comment number 97.

    I met the great man many years ago when I was the projectionist for 'An Evening with Henry Cooper' in Slough.

    Such a well-spoken gentle giant, he will always be in my memories.

  • Comment number 98.

    Possibly the only boxer to be a champion inside and outside the ring. A peoples champion around the world. R.I.P ENERY.

  • Comment number 99.

    I was very sorry to hear of Henry Coopers passing, as one contributor said, "he was one of a kind", he was indeed.

    Although I was never an avid watcher of boxing I still none-the-less had, and indeed still have, a great deal of respect for this man, who was always clean and fair in the ring, always mild mannered and polite outside it.

    His appearance on adverts were always a hit with my late wife and myself, as were his interviews - one I seem to remember was with that other great - Parkinson where his mild mannered and easy going character shone through.

    He did a lot for charity but never shouted about it, he also helped many youngsters to stay on the straight and narrow.
    A true Brit, and a true Gentleman in the full meaning of the word.

    My condolences to his family. Rest in peace Henry.

  • Comment number 100.

    Most of the time, when someone 'famous' dies you think "Oh well", but Henry Cooper's passing made me feel quite sad, even though I'm too young to really remember him as a boxer (and don't have much interest in boxing).

    A gentle giant who always seemed a humble, funny, self-depricating man.

    RIP Henry.


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