Manchester

Alan Henning balloon release tribute and football match played

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Media captionStuart Henning: 'It makes me proud to be Alan's nephew'

More than 100 yellow balloons have been released and a fundraising football match has taken place in memory of murdered British hostage Alan Henning.

The 47-year-old taxi driver, from Salford, was beheaded by Islamic State (IS) militants after he was captured in December while delivering aid in Syria.

Mr Henning's taxi driver friends and his nephew Stuart drove in convoy in Eccles before releasing the balloons.

Soap actors played at AFC Monton in Eccles to raise funds for his family.

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Alan Henning was delivering delivering food and supplies to Syrian refugees when he was kidnapped

More than 100 people in taxis and motorcycles set off from the AJ Bell Stadium with yellow ribbons, before the balloon release at the back of a minicab office in John William Street in Eccles town centre.

'Great guy'

Mr Henning's nephew Stuart said: "It's very emotional. It's what he deserves.

Image caption Stuart Henning joined the convoy for the balloon release

"He was a great guy, it shows his friends and how well they thought of him and how well he was thought of in the community and the surrounding area."

Hundreds turned up at AFC Monton to watch Coronation Street actors Alan Halsall who plays Tyrone Dobbs and Andy Whyment play in the match.

Image caption Andy Whyment, who plays Kirk Sutherland in Coronation Street, took part in the fundraising football match

Mr Whyment, who stars as Kirk Sutherland in the soap, said: "It's awful what's happened to Alan. [But] the community is fantastic and everyone's really got together."

Chris Bisson, from the ITV soap Emmerdale, said: "When something like this happens no-one can understand it and everyone just really feels for Alan's family."

Image caption Chris Bisson, who plays Jai Sharma in Emmerdale, said the death Mr Henning was "fresh in everyone's minds"

Former Blackburn Rovers player Michael Gray and actor Ralf Little also took part.

Proceeds will be donated to Mr Henning's widow Barbara and children Adam and Lucy.

Paul Donegan, a director of the club, said: "We are very proud to be able to support one of Eccles' own, a true hero."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Henning's widow Barbara and their children Adam and Lucy at a memorial service

Mr Henning, who was known as Gadget, was on an aid convoy delivering food and supplies to Syrian refugees when he was kidnapped.

A video purporting to show his beheading was released earlier this month.

Last month, MPs voted to authorise RAF air strikes against IS in Iraq, at the invitation of the Iraqi government.

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