I won’t leave Sheffield community where my husband was murdered

Maureen Greaves, the widow of murdered church organist Alan Greaves,pictured at her home at High Green, Sheffield in 2013. Picture by Simon Hulme
Maureen Greaves, the widow of murdered church organist Alan Greaves,pictured at her home at High Green, Sheffield in 2013. Picture by Simon Hulme
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The widow of murdered Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves has revealed that she has never considered moving away from the area where he was killed in the four years since his death.

Alan Greaves’s family will today be laying a wreath at the site where the father-of-four was fatally attacked on December 24, 2012 as he made his way to St Saviour’s Church in the High Green area to play the organ at midnight carol service.

I have never been fearful of going out in the dark and Alan’s murder hasn’t changed that.

Maureen Greaves

His widow Maureen said: “Each year, we take a wreath and put it on the railings. When I’m going up and down to church you see people stopping their cars. People do remember him.

“They knew Alan and I. They knew him so well. They are really supportive at this time of year.”

Mrs Greaves said her husband Alan, who was 68 when he was killed, was very much missed, and spoke of their wonderful relationship together. “It was really two halves together as a whole,” she said.

“I have always got that ache in my heart. It was a beautiful relationship. We were very, very much in love with each other.

“I live on the street where he was murdered and go past the railings every day in my life. It is the railings that get to me.”

Despite the tragedy, Mrs Greaves, a devout Christian, insits she has never considered leaving High Green, a suburb in the north of the city.

“It never entered my head to move away. After Alan’s death, a number of people said ‘Are you moving?’

“But this house suits me and this neighbourhood suits me. I have never been fearful of going out in the dark and Alan’s murder hasn’t changed that. A murder is very different to what normally happens in a place. I feel very secure here, it is lovely.”

In 2013, Jonathan Bowling, then 22, of Carwood Way, Pitsmoor, admitted attacking Mr Greaves with a pickaxe handle and was jailed for life.

Accomplice Ashley Foster, 22, of Wesley Road, High Green, was sentenced to nine years for manslaughter.

Mr and Mrs Greaves had set up a community scheme less than one month before his death called St Saviour’s Project – an organisation attached to the church which led to them opening a food bank and charity shop to help needy members of the community.

He had taken early retirement from being a social worker to help his wife’s work for The Church Army, an outreach group for the Church of England.

Mrs Greaves said: “I kept coming across so many needs. We kept trying to meet them using our garage and would put extra food in there, beg children’s clothes from friends and so on.

“Alan and I went to the church and said we could create a shop of some sort. It only opened three weeks before he was killed.”

Four years on, the scheme has gone from strength to strength under her guidance. She said: “The project is doing extremely well.

“We have added an allotment to help people who come to the food bank to grow their own food.

“We are trying to develop it as a community and once a month we eat together.

“The land was very overgrown and we have managed to turn it into three parts – an allotment, a garden and an orchard. It has gone from strength to strength.”

Maureen added: “We have more and more people coming to the food bank, which in one sense is a shame. In this day and age it is just unbelievable it is needed.”

Anyone who wishes to assist the St Saviour’s Project can call Mrs Greaves on 0114 2844003.