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East End gangster warns kids about drugs and gangs danger

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:25 05 October 2010

Pridmore... warning kids about drugs and gangs

Pridmore... warning kids about drugs and gangs

GANG members are to be invited to make a new start in life when a once-notorious London hard man visits secondary schools around Britain on a two-week tour. John Pridmore, a former gangster and drug dealer in London’s East End, will be delivering a stark message to pupils about the dangers of getting involved in gangs and drugs

By Mike Brooke

GANG members are to be invited to make a new start in life when a once-notorious London hard man visits secondary schools around Britain on a two-week tour.

John Pridmore, a former gangster and drug dealer in London's East End, will be delivering a stark message to pupils about the dangers of getting involved in gangs and drugs.

Pridmore served two prison sentences in his teens and went on to become a feared enforcer in the London underworld. The money he made from his life of crime bought him the classic gangster lifestyle of fast cars, designer suits and a string of pretty women.

But he underwent a dramatic life-changing experience after nearly killing a man outside a central London pub in 1991.

The Burly 6ft 4ins, 43-year-old with a shaven head looks an unlikely figure to be challenging the gun and drug culture.

But over the last 12 years he has spoken to over 1.5 million young people in schools, universities, churches and prisons around the world.

His brutally frank life-story From Gangland to Promised Land has become a best seller.

"Many kids in England are getting sucked into the gang culture and drug," said Pridmore. "They think it sounds glamorous and cool.

"But it's a violent and dangerous world that only leads to prison or a box six feet under. I've found that kids will listen to me because of what I've been through."

He begins his tour at Westminster Cathedral Hall on January 6, with an evening hosted by the Young Friends of Westminster Cathedral starting at 7.30pm, entrance free.

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