THE Sheffield widow of Alan Greaves, who died after being attacked on his way to a Christmas Eve midnight mass, said today she had not stopped crying over the “evil that has been done”.
Church community worker Maureen Greaves thanked the congregation for their support at the couple’s church in Sheffield where Mr Greaves had been due to worship when he was assaulted.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report from the church.
The 68-year-old grandfather, a lay preacher and organist at the church, was discovered by a member of the public, badly beaten, just yards from St Saviour’s in High Green on Monday, but died from his head injuries in hospital on Thursday night.
During the service, Mrs Greaves told the congregation at St Saviour’s: “I won’t be able to contact you over the next few days, but I want to thank you for the support you have given me.
“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 stopped either.
“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.”
Also at the service, Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft said: “There is a sense of shock and a sense of outrage, not just in this community but across the whole city of Sheffield.
“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.”
He went on to speak of the love and support that has been offered to the family and also appreciation for the medical teams that tried to save Mr Greaves’s life.
“And 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,” he said.
“There will be occasions in the future for many generous tributes to be given.
“Goodness is not as common as it should be and this community and this city have lost a shining light.”
Two Sheffield men, one in his 20s and the other in his 40s, were arrested on suspicion of Mr Greaves’s murder but released on bail on Sunday, pending further investigations.
Detectives believe a weapon was used in the attack, which they have described as brutal.
Anyone with information that could assist the murder inquiry should contact South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 1183 of 24 December.
Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111