The Old Ian
It is incredibly hard for me to remember everything about my childhood, but what does stand out is that my father walked out on my mother when I was just 9 years old. He was to leave me a legacy that I was unable to break for another 40 years – he taught me to gamble.
Gambling became a way of life for me, and as a direct consequence of that, I began to commit crimes to feed my addiction. This lifestyle led to me spending over 18 years in the Criminal Justice System.
My life became a continuous cycle of Gambling, Alcohol and Crime – each one feeding off the other. The times that I spent in prison offered a brief respite from this lifestyle, although my mind remained in complete turmoil.
In 2008, shortly after leaving prison, a lady placed a wooden cross in my hand and in that very moment I felt a indescribable sense of comfort and peace – which I came to understand was the presence of God filling my heart. I gave my life to Jesus at the side of my bed on the 31st March 2010 at 20.45pm and on the 30th May I was baptised at the Vineyard Church.
Although my life was completely changed – gambling still continued to be a struggle for me, and on two occasions between 2011-2012, I fell to the temptation of gambling, leaving me with a significant debt .
It was at a conference in London during 2012 that the Holy Spirit spoke powerfully to me, and called me to “Step into the breach by helping people find freedom from gambling addiction”… I was completely shocked “Why me?”
It has now been over 4 years since that happened, I have not gambled again, and I have also completely paid off the bank loans.
Throughout all this time, I believe the Lord always provided a way out for me, not only through the support of those around me and his inner strength, but also an excess of overtime at work when I needed it most.
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An update from Pam (Ian’s wife)
Up until his death in 2017 Ian campaigned tirelessly to change the laws around gambling and never gambled again himself. He would have been delighted at the recent decision by the government to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs from £100 to £2.
Just weeks before he passed away Ian was delighted to be reunited with his father and brother after 40 years. He was also reunited with his sister who travelled all the way from Australia.