It is with great sadness that the club must announce the passing of one of our longer standing club members and a great friend to many. Gordon Henderson tragically passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly last week while out in Spain riding his bike.
Gordon was a regular Tuesday night swimmer and had attended 3 warm weather camps in Mallorca with the club and laterally with Pro Endurance. As he was unable to go on the dates of this year’s camp, he and his wife Anne booked a holiday very near Denia the week after. He was reveling in the warm weather and amazing roads, cycling daily before tragedy struck on Saturday. His good friend, brother from another mother, and half of the Hendo and Kendo double act – Ken MacEwan has very kindly passed on some words for me to put together for you all. I’m sure Kens invaluable insight into this wonderful man will give all who knew him something fond to remember and something new to learn.
Hendo was 65, the epitome of health, full of energy and enthusiasm for life. He and Kendo took up triathlon in 2005 as a bet at a Lenzie RFC dinner dance after lamenting their failing fitness and increasing weight! They did the Stirling novice that year which Hendo won convincingly leaving Kendo for dead on the bike. Their swim times for 400m were 10.23 (Hendo) & 11.15 (Kendo) with Kendo having to breaststroke for 14 of the 16 lengths!! Undeterred by this the duo graduated to Strathclyde Park standard distance the following year where Hendo pipped poor Kendo to the post again. The friendly battles continued with mixed results over the next 2 seasons with Hendo going 6.08 for Aberfeldy (Kendo cracked 2 ribs in transition!!). Meanwhile the effervescent duo had persuaded Hendo’s son in law Francesco to take up triathlon and they completed the Gullane standard as a team.
Their original bet was first to complete an Ironman which Kendo managed first (Austria 2013) however true to character of generosity and selflessness Hendo assisted this win by acting as Kendo’s coach, mentor, arse kicker, pacer, and cake chooser that whole year. Ken notes that Hendo travelling out to Austria with him was a huge factor in him completing the race. Hilariously Hendo seems to have taken a double whammy on top of losing this bet by getting done for speeding on the Autobahn on the way back to Vienna. This amused everyone as Hendo is well known as being the world’s slowest and most careful driver!! Hendo had no option but to answer to Emmerson Fitipaldi for a few months after this incident.
Not to be left on the coaching side lines, Hendo went on to a 5.38 middle distance at Fort William and several 2.40’ish standard distance events. He was 3rd in last year’s Scottish Standard Distance Championship event up at Knockburn. Ironically this year he was getting over several injuries and was getting reasonably fit again looking forward to a good season.
Gordon and Anne had been married for 41 years and have 1 daughter and two sons – Nikola, Ross & Fraser. Gordon and Anne are devoted grandparents to their seven grandchildren. Gordon was well loved by all their grandchildren and was famous for his games and Bumble Bee stories in the garden. I’m certain anyone who was fortunate to spend time with Hendo can just imagine how fantastic a grandfather he would be.
Gordon was retired but had previously owned his windows business which specialised in high quality windows from Denmark & Sweden. The Golf Hotel at Carnoustie was one of his many successful projects. Retirement was far from wasted on Hendo, he was loving having the time to enjoy his family, train for triathlon and take up a bit of golf.
Hendo was simply an amazing man – kind, genial, generous, charismatic, successful, entrepreneurial, a talented musician, and devoted family man.
His sudden passing is a terrible loss for Anne and his family and will leave a huge void in the lives of his many friends. Personally I hope to never forget that huge contagious smile and laugh of Hendos, it could light up the darkest of rooms. The thoughts and well wishes of the club are passed onto his family and close friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace our friend, you will be forever missed.