Alan Henning: ‘A taxi driver with a heart of gold who basically wanted to help people’

The Associated Press reports: Alan Henning, a British volunteer aid worker purportedly slain by the Islamic State militant group, was described by friends as a hard-working family man who felt compelled to help people suffering from the civil war in Syria.

Henning, 47, had joined an aid convoy and was taken captive on Dec. 26, shortly after crossing the border between Turkey and Syria. A cab driver from northwest England, Henning got involved in taking aid to Syria through a colleague. Friends said he had traveled to the Turkey-Syria border several times in the two years before his capture, leaving behind a wife and two teenage children to help people whose lives were shattered by war.

“He’s just a taxi driver with a heart of gold who basically wanted to help people,” said a friend, Martin Shedwick.

Henning, nicknamed “Gadget,” reportedly joined a convoy organized by an Islamic charity, Al-Fatiha Global, based in Worcester, England.

“I asked why he wanted to do it, because it was dangerous and he had family here. And he just said ‘it’s what I love to do,'” said friend Orlando Napolitano, recalling a conversation in his cafe just before Henning left in December.

“It was his passion. He’d been there twice before and would tell me about all the people there who have nothing, about all the difficulties they face. It was his passion to help them, he didn’t care if it was dangerous,” the Manchester Evening News quoted Napolitano as saying.

Henning, his wife Barbara and two teenage children lived in Eccles, near Manchester in northwest England.

A neighbor Debbie Ashton, described him as a “lovely guy.” [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email