PRAYERS were held across Bolton in memory of murdered taxi driver Alan Henning.

Faith leaders and politicians universally condemned the actions of Islamic State, who released a video of Mr Henning’s beheading on Friday night.

His devastated family said they were “numb with grief”.

Churches in Bolton remembered kind-hearted Mr Henning during their services yesterday.

Bishop of Bolton Rt Rev Chris Edmondson said: “This is the most horrific, brutal and barbaric act. Leaders of Christian and Muslim faiths have universally condemned this act.

“Alan was a man working with Muslim friends and colleagues whose only desire was to bring help, aid and support to those in Syria. That is what makes this act so despicable.

“Ultimately his act of kindness came at a great cost to himself and his family.”

Bolton Interfaith Council and Bolton Council of Mosques held a vigil for Mr Henning before news of his death broke.

They said they will continue to pray for the father-of-two.

A spokesman for the Bolton Faith Leaders’ Forum and Bolton Interfaith Council said: “Our thoughts and prayers need to continue to be with Alan’s family and friends.

“We also need to continue to pray for peace in our world, so that such atrocities as this are not repeated.

“Those responsible for Alan’s death need to recognise that this is not the way to achieve any of their goals and that, acting in this way, they are not reflecting the truth of the Islamic faith which they profess.”

The Rt Rev Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, led prayers at St Thomas and St John Church in Lostock yesterday.

Malcolm Ryding, chairman of the centenary planning group at the church, said: “We prayed for Alan Henning at the beginning of the service.

“The Bishop said we would not let the terrorists set the agenda for the day because Mr Henning and his family would not want that.”

Tributes were also paid at Bolton Parish Church, St Matthews in Little Lever, St John’s in Bromley Cross and St Columba’s in Tonge Moor.

Mr Henning’s widow Barbara and their children said they were “extremely proud” of the 47-year-old, who had been delivering aid to Syria when he was kidnapped.

She said: “As a family we are devastated by the news of his death. There are few words to describe how we feel at this moment. Myself, Lucy and Adam, and all of Alan’s family and friends are numb with grief.”

Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, added: “Alan Henning was a selfless and peaceful man who didn’t deserve to lose his life in such brutal and senseless circumstances.

"He was there to help people. Only those who follow this warped, heinous, ideology could overlook that to further their own propaganda.

“It’s clear that IS have no regard for Islam or for the Muslims around the world who pleaded for his release.”