Bikers go extra mile for Alan’s Appeal

the bikers gather with Maureen Greaves outside the St Saviour's Community Project,
the bikers gather with Maureen Greaves outside the St Saviour's Community Project,
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Bikers in their dozens descended on a community food bank to make donations in memory of the murdered Sheffield church organist who helped to set it up.

Alan Greaves, aged 68, who was brutally beaten to death last Christmas Eve, set up the Saint Saviour’s Community Project with his wife Maureen just three weeks before his death.

Last week The Star launched Alan’s Appeal in Mr Greaves’ memory to encourage readers to make donations of food, clothes and household items to the project which helps the needy in High Green.

And on Sunday bikers from all over the county joined forces to deliver food boxes and cash donations to the project.

The collection was organised by biker Jen Villiers who was helped by Bob Ingham.

Members of three bikers’ groups – Yorkshire Trikers, Virago Star Owner’s Club and the Independent Bikers of Sheffield – joined forces to take part.

Bob said: “We didn’t know Alan but we wanted to do something in his memory. It’s just how bikers are really.

“His death touched our hearts and with it being Christmas we just went for it.”

The bikers met at The Travellers pub in Chapeltown and rode in convoy to the project on Mortomley Lane, High Green.

There they were met by Maureen Greaves, her son Peter and the vicar of St Saviour’s Church Simon Bessant.

We are calling on Star readers to make donations to Alan’s Appeal this Christmas.

Volunteers at the St Saviour’s Community Project run a food bank and shop – both set up by Alan and Maureen.

Free food is provided, as well as affordable secondhand clothing, furniture and household goods, for families most in need.

This year a Christmas meal is planned, when festive food parcels will be presented to everyone who attends.

Maureen said: “We are going to invite those who are most in need to come along a few days before Christmas for a meal in the church hall.

“I expect there will be about 80 people.

“After Christmas we want to continue this by having a family meal for those who are most in need.

“They will be able to come along with their children and meet others from the community.”

The project started in Maureen and Alan’s garage eight years ago when they began collecting people’s secondhand goods and redistributing them to those most in need.

But it got to a point where their garage was full and they wanted a base.

Last Christmas they were given £4,000 funding to lease a flat above a shop in High Green by St Savour’s Church so they could provide somewhere warm for needy people to go.

Alan spent hours cleaning and decorating the flat and the project opened three weeks before he was fatally attacked.

Within the flat there is a fully equipped kitchen, sitting room, adult room and children’s room.

Those using the project can drop in for a cup of tea or coffee, use the washing machine and buy cheap clothes, books, toys and household goods.

Underneath the shop is a garage where there are large items of furniture for sale.

Maureen said: “It’s the cheapest charity shop ever.

“We have 16 volunteers who all work shifts and two managers.”

The project is overseen by Maureen and has its own constitution.

“Every penny that comes in is for the benefit of the community, nobody is paid,” she added.

Maureen said there had been a big increase in those using the food bank since the recession hit.

The Star is appealing for donations of food – tins, tea, coffee, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and other dry food items – as well as good quality clothes, books, toys and household items.

Maureen said: “We don’t want jumble, it is a shop where we want to sell good stuff.

“It doesn’t have to be new but it must but of good quality please.”

Alan, a grandfather-of-two, was beaten to death on December 24 last year as he walked to St Saviour’s to play the organ at the midnight service.

His killers, Ashley Foster and Jonathan Bowling, both 22, were jailed for nine years and for life in July.

In the 11 months since her husband was battered to death, Maureen and an army of volunteers have worked tirelessly to make the St Saviour’s Community Project a success.

Helpers are planning to expand the project in the new year, with new services including a Credit Union adviser and a job club.

Donations to Alan’s Appeal can be dropped off at The Star’s offices in York Street in Sheffield city centre from 9am until 5pm, from Monday to Friday. Alternatively, food and goods can be dropped off at the project itself, which is based at the shops on Mortomley Lane, High Green.