The wife and daughter of St Neots hairdresser Steve Henderson are “bereft, bewildered and struggling to come to terms with his passing”.
Filomena and Anysia say they have been “overwhelmed” by the flood of tributes following his death on March 24.
Steve, 68, had been in the job he loved for nearly 50 years and social media has been filled with customers expressing their grief after he was first forced into early retirement and then passed away.
Some customers had received haircuts from Steve across decades at his salon in Fishers Yard and he often served several generations of the same families.
Filomena said she and Anysia were still “in shock” at the amount of messages there had been in support of Steve who died after a short illness.
“There have been so many people, men, women and children, of all ages, expressing their grief”. Mrs Henderson said, “Thank you all for your support, kind words and memories of Steve, he had a special rapport with his customers and was a good friend to so many people.”
She said her husband was a private, humble man, who was a “rock” to her and Anysia, and would have been overcome with emotion at the response of the community spirit towards him.
Mrs Henderson said her husband, originally from London, came to St Neots in his early twenties, after seeing an advertisement for a hairdresser. He worked in the Arcade until he opened his own business, Steve’s Salon, in 1985, being the first to open in the newly-developed Fishers Yard.
Steve, who was a hairdresser for 46 years, known for his own distinctive hairstyle, opened from 5.30am to 5.30pm six days a week, saying the job never felt like work.
Mrs Henderson said: “When the customer was in the chair they had Steve’s undivided attention, he was a perfectionist at his craft.”
She said her husband had been taken ill at Christmas and underwent surgery, planning to return to work once he had recovered, saying: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the NHS staff involved in Steve’s care for their kindness and compassion during his short illness.”
Steve was a lifelong fan of Elvis Presley, and over the last five years, he immersed himself into this world by following Elvis tribute act Gordon Hendricks, who recently paid a live tribute to Steve.
A special memorial service for Steve will be held later in the year once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted.