Barry swaps Hacienda hedonism for Hitchin heroism

Inspirational Barry Woodward

Inspirational Barry Woodward - Credit: Archant

Hitchin Christian Centre is hosting a talk by a former heroin addict who was drawn into the Manchester drugs scene before experiencing a ‘religious experience’ and joining the church.

‘Scars, Marks and Tattoos’ is the name of the talk by Barry Woodward to be held at Hitchin Christian Centre, Bedford Road, from at 5pm, on Sunday, January 11.

Speaking to the Comet Barry said: “I was born in Salford to a working-class family and got into drugs at a young age. We then moved to Moss Side.

“I dealt drugs and ended up in prison more than a few times. I came out once and just went on a huge bender for nine years which meant my quality of life was terrible.

“Eventually I met three christians who asked me to go to church with them. I was the most hedonistic person and had never been religious in my life. But I had an epiphany when they called me to the front and prayed for me.

You may also want to watch:

“I was a lad from Manchester who was into the ‘Madchester’ scene, the ‘Hacienda’ scene, and acid house music – but that day could well have saved my life. “Within weeks I was off drugs – and I felt like I didn’t want to use drugs anymore. I got clean and have been clean for 17 years now.

“I got a degree from Sheffield University and I wrote a book called ‘Once an Addict’ which has been sent to over 40,000 inmates of prisons across the country. I also give talks to young offenders, and in prisons. They respect me because of where I’ve come from.

Most Read

“I’ve had hundreds of letters from people who have been released from jail saying my experiences have changed their life. It’s very humbling. We’ve had people who’ve left jail and become church workers.

“I’ve got troubles like everyone else but I’ve got purpose and I’ve got hope now. I’m also looking forward to coming to Hitchin!”

Hitchin Christian Centre director Phil Jackson said: “We’re delighted Barry is sharing his experiences with us. We’re looking forward to hearing him speak.”

To book visit

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter