Big Phil

Profession: Ex Paratrooper & Biker

I was born in the Lancashire town of Bolton on the 16th August 1951.  My mother was a working girl and had hardly any time for me.  One day, she was so mad, she wrapped me in a blanket and dumped me in a bin behind the ABC cinema.  There, a man who had just committed a robbery heard me as he ran from the police.  He stopped, picked me out of the bin and waited for the police to catch up with him so that he could hand me over.  I hear that he got a shortened prison sentence for doing the right thing.

I was placed into social services care, which was meant to last until I was 18 years old.  I was 3 years old when I was fostered out to the Fultons for 8 years.  But I never settled down properly.  My mother had started to visit me when I was 6 years old and I had found out, by 10 years of age, where she lived.  I thought she would want me back if I turned up on her doorstep.  She didn’t, and I was returned to the Fultons.  I kept running away, looking for someone who would love me.

When I was sixteen I joined the Fusiliers and did 3 years with them.  Then I transferred to the Paras.  I thought I had finally found where I belonged.  While serving in the Army, I was in the Falklands, the first Gulf War.  I left the army, after 27 years of service, with a fist full of medals and my pockets full of cash.  I spent the next few years getting drunk and into trouble, ending up in prison for 18 months after hitting a policeman.  This happened just after a car smash when I was in a coma for three days and I was told by nurses that I had died three times.

After my release from prison I linked up with John, an old army friend, and we set up a security consulting company in Guyana.  While I was at dinner one evening an off-duty policeman tried to rob me and stuck his gun in my face.  It was then that I hit him and he went down with a thud and was dead before he hit the floor.  I received a 5 year sentence for that.  My prison cell was 6 feet by 6 feet and I shared it with 12 other prisoners.  We took it in turns to sleep, in 2-hour shifts.

In February 1998 I felt depressed and planned to escape so I could get shot by the special police.  just as I was about to put my plan into action a prison officer said he wanted to pray for me.  We argued for 45 minutes and in the end I gave in and then went to sleep for 14 hours.  When I woke up, I demanded to see the governor to ask him about the screw who had prayed for me.  The Governor told me, after he had checked the staff files, that there was no such officer.  It was not until I became a Christian that I realised I had been visited by an angel.  I was released on the 31st March 1998.

Back in Britain in December 2003 I attended an FGB dinner in Bolton.  The speaker that night was a Chinese Christian named Kim Goh.  He told his story of how he got saved, and about the weapons and drugs he had used.  I sat there nodding my head as he talked.  He called me to one side and said, Jesus loves you and wants you now.  I told him to do one, or I was going to kill him.  But he poked me in the chest and said it again, and I tried to lift my fist to hit him but I could not lift my first above my belt.  I found myself saying OK pray for me then.  That is when I made my commitment to Jesus.  The following week I was invited to go along to the CMA (Christian Motorcycle Association) and was made to feel at home.  It took 18 months but finally Jesus got through to me and mellowed me so that I now help people instead of hurting them.

Since then I have talked to business men at FGB dinners and to bikers at motorbike rallies.  I tell them about the change JESUS has made to my life in the last 3 years.  I show them that, if they want to change, all they have to do is ask JESUS into their lives and He will come in and change them too.  So, in finishing, let me say that the Christian life is not always easy.  But if you ask Jesus, He will help you through even if you think He is not helping you.  I would like to share with you the prayer I said when I became a Christian.  If you say it and mean it from your heart, your life will change for the better.

Dear God, I will meet you half way, if you will help me and carry me the rest of the way.  Then I will do what I can to pass on your love and hope.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.