Tributes paid to ‘caring and loving’ husband

Childhood sweethearts Damian and Karen Hennefer and her three children on their wedding day in October 2015
Childhood sweethearts Damian and Karen Hennefer and her three children on their wedding day in October 2015

A devastated wife has paid tribute to her childhood sweetheart who died just four years after they rekindled their relationship.


Damian Hennefer, known as Damo, died on Friday, December 22, five days after falling ill after drinking at a family celebration.

The 35-year-old is survived by his wife Karen and his stepchildren Kayleigh, 17, Tegan, 14, and Jack, 11.

Mrs Hennefer said they had a relationship as teenagers, but that ended after a year.

They stayed in contact and when other relationships ended, they decided to meet up.

She said: “We have been together again since March 2013. It was lovely because he was my first love and I was his.”

The couple married in October 2015 and had been trying to have a baby.

Mrs Hennefer, 34, described her husband as a “family man” and said they “did everything together”.

“Damian was fun, loving and a very caring and thoughtful person,” she said.

“He would always put himself last. He would always put somebody else’s feelings before his own. He was an outgoing person, but when we got together, he was mainly a family man.”

Mr Hennefer was brought up in Bolton and loved cars.

He worked as a mechanic at his brother Geoff’s garage, before leaving in January 2016 to set up his own firm AutoWeld Bolton.

Mrs Hennefer said: “It was going really well. He brought a lot of cars back to life. He enjoyed his job.”

He loved working on his own cars, attending car shows and built a remote control car.

Cat lover Mr Hennefer had four British short-haired cats and often wanted to provide a home for strays.

He fell ill in the early hours of Sunday, December 17 after drinking lager and spirits at a family celebration.

His wife said he was drunk and vomited, so she drove him back to their home on Broom Avenue in Leigh.

She put him in the recovery position while he slept, but noticed around 45 minutes later that he had turned blue.

She started CPR and called 999.

Mr Hennefer was taken to the intensive care unit at Wigan Infirmary, where his condition deteriorated.

Mrs Hennefer made the heartbreaking decision to turn off the life support machine four days later and her husband died the next morning.

A post-mortem examination showed he died of bronchopneumonia, hypoxic brain injury and aspiration related to alcohol intoxication.

An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned.

A fund-raising appeal to pay for a funeral has almost reached its £4,000 target and hundreds of people are expected to attend.

The funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Tuesday, January 16 at Howe Bridge Crematorium, followed by a wake at Leigh Miners Welfare Club.