12 January 2013


Alan Greaves
A week before Christmas, I happened to be in one of Sheffield's suburban villages - High Green. It is a mixed community with affluence and deprivation sitting side by side. I guess that Alan Greaves (aged 68) belonged to the former category having spent his working life as a social worker. He was comfortably off and like Mr Brague (of "Rhymes with Plague") a church organist. He and his wife did good things in the local community and had recently set up a food bank facility for needy families.

On Christmas Eve, at around 11pm, Alan set off on the short walk from his home to St Saviour's Church on Mortomley Lane. He was to play the church organ at the traditional midnight mass but sadly he never got there for close to Mortomley Park, he was struck to the ground by a pair of young thugs who were no doubt looking for easy money to fund their pathetic lifestyles. I very much doubt they meant to kill Alan but that's what happened. He lay on the pavement leaking blood from a head wound till midnight when a passer-by found him and called an ambulance. But it was too late - this kindly husband, father and grandfather and "quiet man" died a few days later in hospital.

I guess this suburban horror story had even greater resonance for me as I had walked over the very spot where he was attacked just a few days before. He was a good man. a religious man but his goodness was no defence on Christmas Eve. He deserves to rest in peace just as his selfish assailants deserve to rot in prison. I know that the entire High Green community is still grieving over this tragedy but it hurts us all. Never ask for whom the bell tolls...


  1. My condolences to his family and his community. Somehow this inane, senseless violence just must end. It seems to me that our families and our communities must become a stronger influence on our young people. And then, those who inflict this pain must be held accountable.

  2. Sorry to hear about his senseless death YP. It is specially sad for you of course. Lucky the idiots were not there when you passed. Keep safe friend! - Dave

  3. I understand that the culprits have been arrested. No doubt they will end up before some ruthless judge, and be sentenced to two weeks soft labour.

  4. I wonder if perhaps the big "we" of society had spent the past few decades instilling a sense of respect for others into youth and youthlings rather than building up their unfounded (and confounded) self-confidence and sense of entitlement, this might not have happened.

  5. MOUNTAIN THYME You're right. Sometimes it is easy to feel that we are living alongside aliens from a very different world.
    DAVE Don't worry Dave. I've got eyes in the back of my head.
    CRO MAGNON It will certainly be interesting so see what those two nobodies "get".
    OWL WOOD Possibly there's a connection between what happened and the socio-economic milieu but sometimes I think that lads like that are just plain "BAD" - not the most politically correct language I know. When something is bad you usually throw it away or excise it.

  6. I do not hold with the death penalty, not because I feel that no one deserves to die but because I know the judicial system can make mistakes and I could not imagine many things as tragic as an innocent man going to the gallows.

    I do believe, however, in prison ships (hulks), chain gangs and hard labour. 'Time off' for good behavior should be rewarded with less arduous duty, not early release.

  7. I have heard about this on the news and been shocked and saddened by it. My eldest is 19 and his friends are around that age to and thankfully they share my emotions.

  8. I had not heard about this tragedy. My condolences to Alan's family and congregation.

    I live about 15 miles from the place where my fingers wander idly over the organ keys, so I do not walk there; I drive a car. A newspaper account of my untimely demise would have different details.


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