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Ex-addict takes up his cross to bring message of hope

A Christian is preparing to tour the UK with an 11-foot cross in a bid to bring a message of hope and healing to addicts.

A Christian is preparing to tour the UK with an 11-foot cross in a bid to bring a message of hope and healing to addicts.

John Edwards (pictured right with the cross), 57, from Wrose, Bradford, aims to meet as many people as he can as he walks and sleeps on the streets of UK towns and cities in a mission that will last throughout July.

"I want to meet addicts, prostitutes, mums and dads, pastors, politicians - as many as I can. I want to share my experience of God's healing in my life and how I have seen him heal others. I spent years doing drugs and drink, I've been in psychiatric hospitals, you name it. Now I want to be a voice for the addict. My message is this: there is no such thing as a hopeless case. All of us can be set free."

John, originally from Dublin, will travel from Inverness to Penzance, sleeping on the streets for two out of every three nights, having conversations with people who need to hear his message of hope.

The cross he is taking is covered with the names of people he has prayed for on previous occasions. John walked with it across the USA but when his trip came to an end, he fell very ill with liver cancer, which resulted in a transplant six years ago.

This time the tour is all the more remarkable because he should be receiving chemotherapy this summer to combat Hepatitis C, contracted through years of injecting drugs.

"I have spoken with my doctor and explained what I wanted to do and he advised that I was better to do this tour sooner rather than later so I have put the treatment on hold, until I have done what I need to, and it feels good to have made that decision.

"God has said to me: 'Take the Gospel to the lost and the cross to my people' so that is what I'm going to do."

Many know John through his association with the work of Walking Free which has been helping addicts and homeless people for 20 years and is based in Bradford, with strong links to Life Church (formerly Abundant Life Church) where he worships.

He will not travel alone – fellow worshipper, and Bradford builder, Kelvin Stewart (pictured above, right) will also travel with his own cross made from a broken wooden doorway which came from world-famous preacher Smith Wigglesworth's Bowland Street Mission, in Manningham, Bradford.

John said: "I hope to meet with as many people as I can but I realise there are only so many I can speak with which is why I have created a range of resources on my website designed to help people with their addictions."

The pair began their tour on Friday (July 6), working through Scotland then onto Newcastle, sleeping in the arches at Bradford Forster Square then John and Kelvin will visit Manchester, Birmingham, London and head to the West Country.

* To meet and speak or pray with John and Kelvin as they travel, call 0753 8977938 or 0753 8977937 or visit www.walkingfree.org and to keep track of the tour see John's twitter account

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