THE grieving widow of murdered Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves revealed she used her faith to comfort another woman in hospital as her own husband lay dying.
Two men arrested in connection with the attack on Alan, in Greengate Lane, High Green, have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Maureen Greaves spoke during the Sunday service at St Saviour’s CofE Church, High Green, where Alan was walking to play the organ at midnight communion on Christmas Eve when he was brutally assaulted.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report from the church service.
The 68-year-old retired social worker died three days later in hospital.
Mrs Greaves, 63, a Church Army evangelist, told the packed church service, led by parish priest Canon Simon Bessant and Bishop of Sheffield Dr Steven Croft, that she has ‘prayed constantly for Alan’ and ‘never stopped crying’.
But she added that while in a hospital waiting room as Alan fought for his life, she came to the aid of another woman who was waiting for news of her husband who had a brain tumour.
Mrs Greaves, who wiped tears from her face as she left the service, said: “In the midst of deep grief, I was sitting in a waiting room. Another lady came in and it irritated me because I wanted to be by myself.
“But I spoke to her, asking ‘what’s wrong?’.
“She said to me that her husband had got a brain tumour. She said ‘I don’t believe in a god that allowed this to happen’. I said that I believe in a god because at Christmas time, he sent a saviour.
“Later, she returned and said she had good news. Her husband’s tumour was benign and she said ‘there is a saviour’.”
Mrs Greaves also thanked the congregation for their support.
She said: “I have prayed constantly for Alan. I have never stopped crying for Alan and I know you have never stopped crying with me.
“I grieve for the evil that has been done and I have prayed for you and I know you have prayed for me. I want to thank you because I really have sensed your deep love and affection.”
A table was set up with flowers and a picture of Alan, along with a book of condolence, in the church. Parishioners also lit candles in his memory.
Canon Bessant recalled he asked Alan, who was a lay preacher, to give the sermon at the previous Sunday service, only a week before.
He said: “It proved to be his last sermon and the last time he played the organ in this church. This week we have seen the reality of evil but I pray that we can move on from this tragic event.”
Bishop of Sheffield Dr Steven Croft, who read a sermon paying tribute to Alan, praised his ‘remarkable’ wife for how she has coped with the tragedy.
He said: “There has been shock, anger and grief but also a great outpouring of love and support.
“Maureen has been remarkable all the way through. I first spoke to her on Friday morning and she has addressed the congregation with great compassion.
“Alan was an inspiration to many with his work as a social worker and through the church. This city has lost a very good man and a shining light.
“It is natural for people to feel angry but I hope that anger can be directed towards good deeds to help the community.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said two men, one in his 20s and one in his 40s, remain in custody and are being questioned by detectives after they were arrested on suspicion of murder.
A number of addresses in High Green have also been searched by officers investigating the case.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.