Widow’s Christmas prayers for Sheffield husband’s killers

Maureen Greaves meets with deputy PM Nick Clegg at the Star to promote the food bank started by Maureen
Maureen Greaves meets with deputy PM Nick Clegg at the Star to promote the food bank started by Maureen
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The widow of murdered church organist Alan Greaves says she will pray for his killers on Christmas Eve - the first anniversary of the attack.

Maureen Greaves, whose husband was set upon as he made his way to a midnight church service in High Green, is planning to hold a special carol service and lay a wreath near the spot where he was brutally beaten last December 24.

She spoke of her plans before meeting Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield MP Nick Clegg - who donated a box of food to Alan’s Appeal, a campaign launched by The Star to support a food bank and shop at St Saviour’s Community Project in High Green.

“It has been a very good year as regards getting on with my work, and living my life as best I can, but it’s also been a very painful year,” said Maureen, aged 64.

“I’ve lived for a year without Alan’s love for me. It’s been very painful, I’ve cried a lot this year.

“I think Christmas Eve will be difficult.

“I’m going to mark Christmas Eve by going to the chapel at the Hallamshire Hospital, and on the evening we’re going to have a very special carol service at the railings where Alan was murdered at 11.20pm.

“I’ll lay a wreath for him, and there’ll be a moment where we remember him.”

She said she would also pray for his killers Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster.

“I’ll say a prayer for Jonathan and Ashley.

“They and their families have been in my prayers constantly this year. I do sincerely hope God’s love will touch them this Christmas.”

Since the appeal was launched last month, Maureen has been inundated with donations - and Mr Clegg said she was an ‘amazing lady’.

“She sets an extraordinary example - almost a year to the day when Alan was so brutally killed, she is thinking of others,” he said.

“I would very much urge everybody to respond to this appeal. Not only is it organised by an extraordinary individual, but also for the best possible reason, to help people less fortunate than others at Christmas.

“It’s exactly the kind of appeal that can only really get to the scale it needs to because of the help of The Star.”

Maureen said his donation was a ‘wonderful gesture’.

“Alan would be very humbled, as I am too,” she said.

“I think Alan would be shaking his head in wonder a little bit. The donations are just rolling in.”

Maureen and Alan, both retired social workers, had been working hard on the community project in the weeks before Alan was murdered.

The grandfather-of-two was beaten to death as he walked to St Saviour’s church to play the organ.

Foster and Bowling, both 22, were jailed for nine years and life respectively in July.

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

Maureen added: “It was always our dream for the project to grow and develop. Alan’s death has created extra food and presents, which have been very lovely.”