He never considered himself above his admirers and was always happy to engage with them during public appearances - even after being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

Henry will go down in history as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers to ever come out of Britain. His iconic left hook, which famously floored Muhammad Ali - then known as Cassius Clay - back in 1963 earned the nickname “Enry’s Ammer”. But what he is remembered most fondly by those who knew him is his character, far more than his prowess in the ring.

Whenever the name of the decorated British, Commonwealth, and European champion who hung up his gloves in 1971 comes up in conversation, another word is invariably used to describe him - Gentleman. No matter who you ask, it seems there is unanimous agreement that he was a man of admirable character. 

Daily Echo: Henry Cooper

Upon finishing his boxing career, Henry moved onto a new phase in his life as a television and radio personality. After some time however, he chose to distance himself from the sport due to growing discontentment. He expressed yearning for the “straight, hard and fast” boxing present during his time in the ring.

Henry was from the old school, fighting his way up through sheer strength, skill and courage. He was dismissive of the show business gimmicks which had begun to creep into the sport.

Henry was honoured in 1970 when he was selected as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the second time. Five years later, he visited Hampshire to inaugurate a sports centre in Alton. His first visit to the area proved to be a memorable occasion for all involved.

Henry told the Daily Echo at the time: “I only wish I had something like this when I was a kid. It is marvellous, just marvellous.” 

For the next twenty years, Henry became a familiar figure in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. He would come to help with fundraising events, open new buildings, take part in golf tournaments for charity and give his backing to many charitable endeavours, especially those focused on helping children.

Daily Echo: Henry Cooper

On a crisp autumn day, Henry made his way to Southampton to inaugurate the grand opening of a new betting shop.

There he sat down with former Daily Echo sports journalist, Peter East, to discuss the evolution of boxing from days gone by up until now and what may come in the future.

“Boxing is a bit lacking in this country and it’s

probably easier to make money in the sport now,” said Henry.

“We’ve got one or two individuals who are doing quite well, such as John

Conteh, John H Stracey, Dave “Boy” Green, and Alan Minter, but apart from Joe

Bugner I can’t think of a good heavyweight.” 

Daily Echo: Henry Cooper.

Back in the day when Henry was fighting against formidable adversaries such as Joe Erskine, Brian London, Peter Bates and Joe Bygraves, he commented that there was a wealth of talented heavyweights. He said: “There were about a dozen good, tough heavyweights about in those days.

“It seems a shame to me that we haven’t any good heavyweights, because if the top man Is a good ‘un, it lifts the sport throughout the country.”

Renowned for his jovial character and easy-going nature, it’s no surprise that to many, the great British public in particular, Henry had become a beloved ‘national treasure’. Many will never forget his “splash it all over” television advert campaign for Brut aftershave.

During a performance in Southampton, Les Dawson, the late comedian, experienced an unexpected turn of events. Thanks to Henry Cooper, one of the gags backfired, but in a fun way.

Back in February 1988, on the last night of Babes in the Wood at Mayflower Theatre, the unexpected guest provided attendees with an occasion to remember.

Daily Echo: Henry Cooper

For years Les had joked with audiences that Henry Cooper was sitting in the stalls, only for a spotlight to fall on an unsuspecting female victim.

But for once the joke was on him, as a well-known voice boomed out: “Ere, you takin’ my name in vain?”, with which the real Henry Cooper stood up.

Les stood open-mouthed in amazement as Henry stepped onto the stage to tumultuous applause from the capacity audience.

Throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s, Henry was a prominent figure on the Southern Coast, and he received a warm reception in locations such as Hythe, Titchfield, Winchester and Romsey.