Eccles holds church service to remember Alan Henning
A service will be held this evening in memory of British aid worker Alan Henning, who was killed by Islamic State (IS).
The “service of reflection” will take place at 18.30 BST at Eccles Parish Church, which is situated next to the minicab office where Mr Henning worked, and is welcome to “anybody of any faith or none”.
Footage showing the murder of the 47-year-old from Salford, Manchester was released by IS on Friday.
The Rt Reverend David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, emphasised that the local community would be united in grief.
He said: “This won’t divide us. Within the Greater Manchester area it is part of our tradition to come together in times of tragedy.”
Mr Henning, who was kidnapped in 2013 as he began his fourth aid trip to Syria, left behind a wife and two children, who say they are “numb with grief” following Alan’s murder.
In a statement immediately following Alan’s death his wife Barbara said: “Alan was a decent, caring human being. He will be remembered for this and we as a family are extremely proud of him and what he achieved and the people he helped.”
Floral tributes and messages of condolence continue to be laid at the Henning’s home. A minute’s silence was observed at the Sale Sharks vs London Wasps rugby union game in memory of Mr Henning.
Friend and colleague Dr Shameela Islam-Fulfiqar has established a memorial fund in the hope of raising £20,000 in order to show Alan’s death “was not in vain” and insists that the work to which Alan was committed will continue. The fund is designed to “ensure his legacy continues long after he was taken from us.”
Another friend Kasim Jameel, who reportedly first inspired him to travel to Syria as an aid worker, called him “the best of the best, a pure soul”.
The gruesome footage released on Friday ended with a further IS threat against American aid worker Peter Kassig, whose family continues to plead with the militant group to “have mercy”.
RAF Tornados made their first strikes on IS targets on Tuesday, following parliament’s approval of British involvement in an international military campaign against the expanding caliphate.
Thomas Rhys Jones