Alan Henning family plea after memorial service

Members of the public observe the floral tributes at the base of the Eccles Cross for murdered aid worker Alan Henning in Eccles. Picture: Getty

Members of the public observe the floral tributes at the base of the Eccles Cross for murdered aid worker Alan Henning in Eccles. Picture: Getty

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A SPECIAL church service was last night held for murdered British hostage Alan Henning in his home town.

His widow Barbara sat in the front pews and was joined by family and friends at the service of “reflection and solidarity” at Eccles Parish Church in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Worshippers of all religions were invited to the service where music was played and candles were lit.

The execution of Mr Henning, a 47-year-old former taxi driver, has left the community of Eccles in shock.

His widow Barbara has said his family and friends were “numb with grief” after receiving the news that he had been murdered by his Islamic State captors.

She thanked everyone who took part in campaigns and vigils at home and abroad for the aid worker’s release but appealed for privacy after receiving “the news we hoped we would never hear”.

A video showing the brutal murder of Mr Henning – who was kidnapped last December in Syria by IS militants – was posted on the internet by the group on Friday night.

Bishop Walker said the service was intended to acknowledge the “good that he did”.

“Within the Greater Manchester area, it’s part of our tradition to come together at times of tragedy,” he said. “This won’t divide us, it will simply reaffirm us in our commitment to one another and to the future of the world of which we are a part.”

The church is next to the minicab office in which Mr Henning worked.

An Alan Henning Memorial Fund has been launched by his friend and fellow aid worker Shameela Islam-Fulfiqar which, he says, is intended to show his children ‘‘their father’s death was not in vain’’.

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