Credit: SOUTH YORKSHIRE POLICE
THE widow of Alan Greaves, a Reader and church organist who died
after he was attacked as he walked to church on Christmas Eve, has
thanked the congregation of St Saviour's, Mortomley, Sheffield, for
Maureen Greaves, a Church Army evangelist, spoke to the
congregation on Sunday morning: "I have prayed constantly for Alan,
and I know that you have, too. I have never stopped crying for
Alan, and I know that you have never stopped crying with me. I have
grieved over the evil that has been done; and I know that you, too,
have grieved over the evil that has been done. And I have prayed
for you, and I know that you have prayed for me.
"I want to thank you, because I really have sensed your very
deep love and affection for me. I know that you have loved Alan,
and I know that you have loved me deeply. You were Alan's Christian
family. He loved belonging to this church, as I do, too."
Mr Greaves, who was 68, left his home in the High Green area of
Sheffield at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, to walk the short distance
to the church where he was due to play the organ at the midnight
communion service. At 11.15 p.m., he was found by a passer-by on
the pavement, 300 metres from the church, with serious head
injuries. He was taken to Northern General Hospital in Sheffield,
but died from his injuries on Thursday night.
At a press conference outside South Yorkshire Police
headquarters on Friday afternoon, Detective Superintendent Matt
Fenwick said: "We cannot think of a motive why anybody would want
to attack Mr Greaves. We haven't got a motive, we haven't got any
suspects, and no arrests have been made. It is about keeping an
open mind. This individual could come from the local community, or
could come from further afield."
Part of a metal fence near the site of the attack on Mr Greaves
has been removed by police for forensic examination; and officers
are examining CCTV footage. Robbery has not been ruled out as a
motive, but Det. Superintendent Fenwick said: "We are not aware of
anything missing from Mr Greaves at this time."
The District Police Commander, Superintendent Shaun Morley,
said: "High Green is a very close-knit community, and the attack on
Mr Greaves is fairly unique in terms of the viciousness that was
used. The community is very distressed, and we want to ensure that
are reassured by the activities of South Yorkshire Police.
"This does seem to be an isolated incident . . . but we will be
very visible in that community over the coming days and weeks to
ensure that the community feels safe and is reassured by our
The Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Steven Croft, attended Sunday's
service at St Saviour's. Earlier, he wrote to all the clergy in the
diocese, urging them to pray for Mr Greaves's family, the church at
High Green, and the Church Army.
Speaking to Sky News after the service, Dr Croft paid tribute to
Mrs Greaves: "Maureen has been impressive and courageous throughout
this week, in what must surely be the most difficult few days of
her life. She spoke movingly of her appreciation for the love and
prayers she has received from so many - particularly this
congregation - and she spoke movingly of her Christian faith, and
Alan's Christian faith, which has guided and strengthened her
through this time of great crisis and trauma.
"Alan was clearly deeply loved and respected by the church
congregation here, but also the wider community. He is well known;
and the city and High Green have lost a good man and a shining
light. Of course, murder is terrible whoever it happens to, but
there is particular grief and outrage that it should be Alan."
The Vicar of St Saviour's, Canon Simon Bessant, said that Mr
Greaves had served the people of Sheffield in his professional life
as a social worker and through community work. "I can only find one
word to describe Alan: and that is to say that he is a good man. .
. There has been huge upset in the church family and in the wider
community. Local councillors have been expressing their great
sadness, because they knew him. There is a lot of shock out
The Chief Executive of the Church Army, Mark Russell, broke the
news of Mr Greaves's death on Twitter, saying that he was
"devastated" by the attack. "The thoughts and prayers of the whole
Church Army family are with Maureen and her family at this awful
Speaking later, he described Mr Greaves as "a fundamental part
of Maureen's ministry." He said: "I knew Alan really well. If you
look on our website, you'll find a video about Maureen, and you'll
see Alan in every scene, playing instruments or talking to
"This is a couple who worked in probably one of the most
deprived parts of Sheffield. They were just servant-hearted,
phenomenal community people, who just recently set up a food bank
on that estate. Alan was a fundamental part of that, too, making
sure that other families had food on their plates on Christmas
Last weekend, South Yorkshire Police arrested two Sheffield men
on suspicion of murder. They have since been released on police
bail, pending further inquiries.
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation
should contact South Yorkshire Police on 101, or Crimestoppers,
anonymously, on 0800 555 111, quoting incident number 1183 of
Monday, 24 December 2012.