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'I have not stopped crying at the evil that's been done': Organist's widow weeps during emotional tribute at church where he had been due to play on Christmas Eve
Widow of Alan Greaves thanks congregation for support since the attackThe 68-year-old was found beaten up as he went to mass on Christmas EveBishop of Sheffield describes the shock and outrage at service today
07:56 GMT, 31 December 2012
The wife of an organist who died after he was attacked on the way to play at Midnight Mass said yesterday she had not stopped crying over the ‘evil that has been done’.
Maureen Greaves led prayers to husband Alan as dozens came together in grief at the first Sunday service since his death last week.
The Bishop of Sheffield, who attended the service, paid tribute to the devout Anglican and lay preacher, saying the church had lost a ‘shining light’.
Grief: Organist Alan Greaves, left, had been on his way to play at the church on Christmas Eve when he was attacked. Pictured right, his wife Maureen, on the left, was comforted by a friend at yesterday's service
Thanking the congregation for their
support, Mrs Greaves said: ‘I have prayed constantly for Alan and I know
you have too. I have not stopped crying for him and I know you have not
‘I have wept over the evil that has been done. I have prayed for you and I know you have prayed for me.
‘You were Alan’s Christian family and he loved belonging to this church. I have felt your love towards me.’
Mr Greaves, 68, was found beaten and
collapsed on the pavement close to St Saviour’s Church in High Green,
Sheffield, late on Christmas Eve.
Arrival: Mrs Greaves makes her way to attend the the service at St Saviour's
Emotional: Members of the congregation leave the church following the prayer service for Mr Greaves
At around 11pm he had kissed Mrs Greaves goodbye and set out on the short walk to the church.
When he did not arrive, the congregation became concerned and 15 minutes later he was found by a pizza delivery worker.
He was taken to hospital where he underwent four hours of emergency surgery for multiple head injuries. He died two days later.
Two men, one in his 20s and another in his 40s, were bailed last night after being arrested on suspicion of murder.
Police believe Mr Greaves was attacked
‘brutally’ with a weapon but have yet to determine what it was and are
appealing for witnesses.
Support: Mrs Greaves, left, was comforted after she attended the church service where she thanked the congregation for their help, which was led by the Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft, right
Tribute: Flowers were left at the scene near to the church where Mr Greaves was attacked, while members of the congregation were left visibly shaken as they left the service
During yesterday’s service, Dr Steven
Croft, the Bishop of Sheffield, spoke of the nationwide ‘shock and
outrage’ following Mr Greaves’s death.
He said: ‘Alan was the victim of a
brutal attack as he was on his way to church on Christmas Eve, as he was
walking to this church to bear witness to his deep Christian faith.
‘There will be immense grief for those
who knew Alan well, which includes many in this church and community.
In the midst of all this, I am sure, many will be giving thanks for Alan
himself, for all he showed us of God’s grace and love.
‘Goodness is not as common as it should be and this community and this city have lost a shining light.’
Respected: Flowers left at the murder scene on Greengate Lane, Sheffield where Mr Greaves was attacked on his way to church
Inquiries: Police carry out investigations close to the scene where Mr Greaves was attacked on Christmas Eve
Mr Greaves, a former social worker who
leaves behind four children and two grandchildren, had played the organ
and preached at his local church for nine years.
He also played the piano for children
at a primary school and had set up a food bank and community project for
disadvantaged people with his wife.
After the service, Dr Croft paid tribute to Mrs Greaves, who is an evangelist with the Church Army.
He said: ‘Maureen has been very impressive and courageous throughout this week.
‘I spoke to her on Friday morning and she was courageous then but in deep shock.’
After Mr Greaves died last Thursday, Mrs Greaves, 63, said she did not seek vengeance.
Involved: Mr Greaves was an organist and a lay preacher at the church, where his wife is also a community worker
Service: Dozens attended the church today, with some people having to stand because there was no room left