Bristol

Larry Harvey former inmate becomes Bristol prison chaplain

Larry Harvey outside HMP Bristol where he is now prison chaplain Image copyright Larry Harvey
Image caption Rev Larry Harvey is now ordained prison minister

An ex-offender who turned from being a heavy drinker, street fighter and drug taker to a prison chaplain has told his story in a new book.

The Rev Larry Harvey, 56, of Coalpit Heath near Bristol turned his back on a life of crime when his daughter needed emergency brain surgery.

His book, Menace to Miracle, is raising money for Southmead Hospital where 18 year old Joanne was treated.

He is now full time chaplain at HMP Bristol where he was once a prisoner.

Image copyright Larry Harvey
Image caption Mr Harvey lived the early part of his life with his father, mother and brother in a caravan

Mr Harvey fell into a life of crime from a young age and had 27 convictions ranging from thefts to assault.

In 1999 his oldest daughter Joanne fell seriously ill and needed several very long pioneering operations on her brain.

Image copyright Larry Harvey
Image caption Larry Harvey as a young man

During one surgery she stopped breathing and was put on life support with a 50/50 chance of survival.

"I couldn't eat, sleep or do anything," said Mr Harvey.

He went into the hospital chapel and prayed: "If you're there, I need you God."

"I don't really know why I went there but immediately I knew it was going to be alright," said Mr Harvey.

Joanne recovered and Mr Harvey left his old life and became a Christian minister.

He now dedicates his time to young men who find themselves on the wrong side of the prison gates.

"I want to encourage youngsters and others to know that no matter how awful their lives seem now, they can change it from a life of drugs, violence and crime to a life with a purpose and hope," said Mr Harvey.

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