From Gangland to Promised Land

by | Jun 21, 2016 | A Question of Faith, Faith A, Faith Archive, Ministry

John Pridmore, former London gangster turned Christian, shares how God changed his life and how he now leads retreats and speaks at church events around the world.

John Pridmore

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I was born in the east end of London. At the age of 10, my parents got divorced and I made an unconscious decision not to love any more.

At the age of 13 I had started stealing. By 15 I was put in a detention centre (youth prison). When I left home after having been released, my only qualification was stealing, so that’s what I did.

At 19 I was in prison again and because the way I dealt with my pain was with anger, I was always fighting. They put me on 23 hour solitary confinement and I came out of there even more angry and bitter.
I started bouncing round the east end and west end of London. I liked fighting so I thought I might as well get paid for it! I met some guys who seemed to have everything and I started to work for them. Before long I wasn’t working for them, I was working with them. These were the guys who ran most of the organised crime in London.
I had what I thought was everything. Money, power, girls, drugs the lot. But yet there was something missing… This struck me more than ever, when I thought I had killed someone outside of a nightclub I was working at. After nearly taking that man’s life, something incredible happened and my life began to change.

I began working with at risk youth showing them there is another path than the violent one I took. Within a few years I was full time speaking in parishes, schools and prisons around the U.K. and Ireland to tens of thousands of people each year.

I spoke at World Youth Day in Sydney to over 400,000 young people and ever since my ministry has become more and more international.

At the beginning of June 2009 I went to Liberia so I could speak to former children soldiers who were forced to take up arms and fight in the Liberian Civil war about the grace of forgiveness.

John has led retreats, conferences and seminars throughout the U.K., Ireland, U.S.A. (New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles,) Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Cayman Islands, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Mexico, Liberia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia.