Memorial planned for 'ginormous teddy bear' Alvin

Alvin Henderson was a much-loved man from Ipswich, who made friends wherever he went. He died in 2020, aged just 44.

Alvin Henderson was a much-loved man from Ipswich, who made friends wherever he went. He died in 2020, aged just 44. - Credit: Family of Alvin Henderson

An Ipswich family will be paying tribute to their charismatic and caring son, brother and uncle at the end of this month. 

Alvin Henderson was 44 when he died in April 2020 after being treated for Covid-19 at Ipswich Hospital.

Sadly, restrictions meant that many of his friends were unable to attend his funeral.

Friends and family have paid tribute to him as they prepare to host a memorial in his memory. 

“Alvin had hundreds of friends, and I was just thankful to be one of them,” remembers Alvin’s close friend Darren Partridge, who had known Alvin since the pair were just 17.  

“Walking down Ipswich high street, you’d pass maybe ten to 15 people that Alvin knew and was great friends with. 

“People would like him instantly. In fact, many of his female friends referred to him as a ginormous teddy bear. 

“He was the best human and the best person that I have ever met. He’s always in my heart.” 

Alvin's close friend, Darren, said that Alvin made friends wherever he went.

Alvin's close friend, Darren, said that Alvin made friends wherever he went. - Credit: Darren Partridge

Alvin often helped his dad when he had a disco or a party booking.

Alvin often helped his dad when he had a disco or a party booking. - Credit: Family of Alvin Henderson

Alvin's father said he had a wicked sense of humour.

Alvin's father said he had a wicked sense of humour. - Credit: Family of Alvin Henderson

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His family are encouraging anyone who knew Alvin to come along to the celebration. 

“Alvin was a man of many talents,” said his father, Sevond Henderson. “He achieved so much in his short life. 

“He was a DJ, and would often join me when I had a disco or a party booking. 

“He often joined me at car boot sales. He was a good salesman, and he had the gift of the gab. 

“He was a real computer geek, very good with technology.” 

Alvin was said to have made friends wherever he went.

Alvin was said to have made friends wherever he went. - Credit: Family of Alvin Henderson

Alvin was known for his great sense of humour.

Alvin was known for his great sense of humour. - Credit: Family of Alvin Henderson

Alvin was said to have made friends wherever he went.

Alvin was said to have made friends wherever he went. - Credit: Family of Alvin Henderson

Alvin was part of a huge family, and remained close with his father, Sevond, his mother, Jennifer, and his stepmother, Megeita. He had four sisters: Camille, Louanne, Sherina and Essie. He also had three step-sisters, Virginia, Patricia and Paulette, and a stepbrother, Wayne, who passed away in 2010. 

“At Christmas, we traditionally had dinner between 4pm and 5pm and soon after dinner, we would open the presents,” said Sevond. 

“Alvin was at the centre of the proceedings as Father Christmas, a role he took over from his brother, Wayne. He always had time for his nieces and nephews and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. 

“He was generous to a fault, especially at Christmas time and had a big heart. He was known as the BFG (Big Friendly Giant).”

Alvin’s friend, Edward Parsons, said it meant a lot to him that Alvin took the time to get to know his wife. 

“He became such a big part of our life, and he was more like a big brother than a friend,” he said. 

Alvin had got to know Edward working as a cameraman on Edward’s show Crank It Up, a prank and stunt show which ran from 2009 to 2013. The first series was shown on television in America.  

“Alvin came and shot with us for a day, and then a couple of days later, he arrived on my doorstep, saying he wanted to be in the show,” Edward remembered. 

“He was so charismatic and so out there, we just couldn’t say no.” 

Edward and his wife were planning to renew their wedding vows for their 15th anniversary, and Edward joked to Alvin that it would be funny to have someone from the show officiate. 

“A few weeks later he appeared on my doorstep with a bottle of champagne, brandishing a certificate,” said Edward. 

“It turns out that in the weeks following our conversation, Alvin had gone through the steps to become an officially ordained minister. 

“At the time, I remember thinking it was hilarious, we laughed and joked about getting him an outfit to wear but in the days that followed his gesture really resonated with me.  

“Whilst on the surface we both took a very humorous stance, beneath that lay yet another example of how kind, caring and generous Alvin truly was.  

“To have Alvin's friendship truly was a gift. To have him care about you was an honour and a privilege, something I will always be grateful for and something I will never forget.” 

Alvin died before he was able to officiate at the ceremony, which will take place later this year.  

A memorial to celebrate Alvin’s life will take place on Saturday, August 27 from 7pm until 11.30pm at Westgate Ward Social Club, Ipswich. All are welcome.