Belfast Telegraph

Reformed prisoner Glen Connor shoulders cross on epic walk for charity funds

By Christine Carrigan

A former prisoner from Co Londonderry has his cross to bear - while walking over 130 miles of the north coast.

Glen Connor from Ballykelly was serving time in HMP Magilligan for committing public order offences while drunk or on drugs.

But the 36-year-old converted to Christianity while behind bars and is now devoting his life to God.

Starting from Carrickfergus two days ago, Glen is making his way along the entire Causeway Coastal Route for charity.

He is covering 13 miles a day for 10 days, carrying a 12ft-tall cross over his shoulder, although it has been fitted with a small wheel to make lugging it a little bit easier.

The Belfast Telegraph caught up with Glen yesterday, as he made his way to Glenarm, Co Antrim.

"It is not as easy as I first thought, my shoulders are ripped off me," he said.

Talking about his motivation for the challenge, Glen said he was going to raise money to travel to Mozambique and to continue his Bible studies with monks there.

However, he discovered he would have had to wait a year, and decided instead to raise money for charity.

Talking about his past life, Glen explained he was never in trouble when he was sober. "I was on a bad path with drink and drugs, I knew that the lifestyle I was leading wasn't right. It was a never-ending story for 15 years of silly offences like public disorder caused by the drink and drugs," he recalled.

"Three years ago this December, I was in Magilligan prison and I asked Jesus into my heart. I got released from prison in February 2015 and I moved to Coleraine and started going to a church there called Causeway Coast Vineyard.

"I was doing good for a while but then I started to slip up, back on the drink and drugs. My mentor at the church then suggested I go and do a teen challenge programme (a Christian discipleship and rehabilitation scheme) in England."

After the 10-month programme, Glen attended the Teen Challenge Leadership Academy, a Bible teaching and outreach school.

Talking about his plans for the future, Glen revealed he has secured a place on a three-year Applied Theology course in England.

He said: "I want to learn more about the faith that I believe in. Once I have completed that course I will see where God takes me."

Glen has set up a crowdfunding page, with hopes to reach a target of £3,000 to split between three charities.

They are Fields of Life, a Christian charity that digs wells in Africa and provides clean drinking water; E3, a Christian initiative that helps people with HIV, and a mission group from Causeway Coast Vineyard Church, which is travelling to Papua New Guinea in October to share the gospel. So far Glen has raised almost £300.

If you would like to help you can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/glen-connor

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