FIVE hundred people or more are now expected to attend the funeral of murdered Sheffield grandfather Alan Greaves next month.
The service, on Wednesday, February 6, is being planned as an open and public event, rather than a private family ceremony.
Everyone is welcome to attend St Saviour’s Church on Mortomley Lane in High Green at noon.
The vicar, Canon Simon Bessant, said Mr Greaves’ widow Maureen, and their four grown-up children, are determined to make sure the funeral includes as many mourners as possible.
“Maureen is very keen to make everybody feel included,” he told The Star.
“She doesn’t want people to feel they shouldn’t come even if they might not have known Alan directly, or for people to feel there might be ‘too many’ people coming already.
“She wants people to come if they can, and I think she would really value seeing people there if they want to be.
“She is aware that people who didn’t know Alan might want to attend, and she wants to respect that.”
Talks are still being held between the church, South Yorkshire Police, Sheffield Council, Ecclesfield Parish Council and other parties about the probability of road closures to accommodate numbers.
Special car parking is likely to be put in place, and marshalling around the church, but exact details have not yet been decided.
Contractors are being brought in to set up a video-link relay of the service to any overspill of mourners who can’t squeeze into St Saviour’s Church.
They will be accommodated instead at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church further along Mortomley Lane.
“Certainly we are planning for a large number of people – it could be 500, it could be more,” said Canon Bessant.
“We just don’t know. It could be fewer, it could snow,” he added.
“We are just trying to make every effort to do this in a way that as many people as want to come can do so, and we will be trying to get as many people inside the church as we can.
“We want everybody to feel valued.”
Retired social worker Mr Greaves, of Greengate Lane, High Green, died three days after being attacked on his way to church on Christmas Eve. Two men have been charged with his murder.