A former London gangster will be sharing his amazing story in the Holy Cross Church, Charleville on Monday next 29th April at 7.30pm as part of a Parish Mission running from Monday 29th April to Friday 3rd May. He will be joined by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from Moyross, as seen on the Late Late Show.

John Pridmore has just finished a tour reaching more than 7,000 young people in schools and prisons and recently returned from Chicago and Florida after speaking at international conferences. Forty-eight-year-old Pridmore served two prison sentences in his teens and went on to become a feared enforcer in the London underworld.    

He underwent a dramatic life-changing experience after nearly killing a man outside a central London nightclub. Since then he has travelled internationally, personally speaking to  over 2.5 million people, warning kids about the dangers of the gun and drug culture. At six foot five with a shaved head, Pridmore looks more the hard man than motivational speaker but he leaves a deep impact on the young people he meets.  

His message, which has brought him to 16 countries in the last twelve months, is a simple one, that God can and does change lives.  He tells of how, following his parents’ divorce at age 10, he started getting into trouble, ending up in a young offenders prison.  Having left home at 15, the only occupation he had learnt was stealing.  By his 20s he had become a violent East End gangster well-acquainted with the capital’s criminal underworld.

His status as an inspiring and powerful international speaker was underlined last year as he spoke to more than half a million people who gathered on pilgrimage in Sydney, Australia, for World Youth Day.  Since leaving the life of crime he has worked in the Bronx in New York, where he spent time with Mother Teresa.

On the back of his bestselling biography ‘From Gangland to Promised Land’, John Pridmore has released his latest book entitled ‘Journey to Freedom’.  In it he delves into the theme of inner awareness and healing and speaks of his work with young teenagers and ex-gang members. 

Pridmore wants people to know “If God could love someone like me, He can love anyone.”

The Mission team will also be addressing post primary schools in Charleville next week.