Alan Greaves: Funeral For Attacked Organist

The widow of a man who was killed on his way to midnight mass has told how her thoughts turned to those responsible as she sat by his body on Christmas Day.

Church organist Alan Greaves, 68, was attacked on Christmas Eve as he made the short walk from his home to his church in Sheffield.

Speaking at his funeral, Maureen Greaves said: "Alan bought me my last bunch of flowers on Christmas Eve morning. When I went to thank Alan and give him a kiss, he said to me 'I love you so much Maureen, and I'm so glad that I married you'."

She added: "On Christmas Day when I sat beside Alan's bruised and battered body, it was only natural that my thoughts would turn to the men who had so cruelly and brutally attacked him.

"But even then, I could hear Alan saying to me 'Maureen, don't give yourself permission'.

"I am so truly thankful to have loved and been loved by Alan. I am so proud of the man he was, and of the life that he lived.

"As my husband and my best friend, Alan loved me really well.

"He did so many little things that showed me every day how much he cared for me and supported me in all that I did."

Earlier, Mrs Greaves told Sky News that her husband's death was a "very great shock".

The couple both worked for the Church Army and devoted a lot of time to helping and supporting others.

Just weeks before his death, Mr Greaves had helped establish a new food bank project for people in South Yorkshire.

Mrs Greaves said: "Obviously the house is full of memories. One of the saddest memories is that the piano has fallen silent.

"It is not something I'm going to get rid of, I will keep it and Alan's two daughters can play the piano and one day one of them might inherit it."

Close friend Rev Canon Simon Bessant told Sky News: "He was involved in the local school, he played the piano, he was a school governor, he did lots of visiting, he did counselling, a lay preacher and he's been involved in so many things.

"He never drew attention to himself, he was a fairly quiet person and I think it is people like that that often make the difference because they quietly get on and do things."

The couple got married in Sheffield in 1972 and had four children together.

Since the murder, the family has been touched by the huge support from people affected by his death.

Mrs Greaves said: "It has been very overwhelming and humbling.

"Whenever I have walked on the streets people have come to me to give me a hug to say how sorry they are and especially to ask if they can do anything for me.

"Some people that have done that I know well - others have been complete strangers."

Two men have been charged with Mr Greaves murder. Jonathon Bowling, 22, and 21-year-old Ashley Foster are in custody awaiting trial.