Former street worker's delight at graduation
Former Norwich prostitute, now best-selling author, Maria Landon, has celebrated receiving a City College Norwich degree from actor and writer Stephen Fry at the city’s cathedral.
Maria came from a broken family; her mother walked out when Maria was young, leaving her in the chaotic and violent care of her father who was a pimp. Maria's childhood innocence was stolen forever when her father forced her to become a prostitute in the Norwich red light district when she was still a schoolgirl, aged just 14.
Maria has documented her story in her book Daddy's Little Earner and a subsequent book Escaping Daddy is about her healing journey and tthe steps she took to recovery.
Maria feels that her graduation marks the fact that "Daddy's Little Earner" is finally no more.
She said, "I know we do not all need to obtain graduations to become acceptable in this world but for me, the girl who was born to be a prostitute, this was a wonderful day of celebration.
"I had the remarkable priveledge of celebrating my achievement at the Cathedral on 23rd October and receiving my BA Hons in English Literature and Cultural Studies from the wonderful Stephen Fry who also had a remarkable testimony to share.
"It is amazing how God has brought me this far and sitting there in the glorious cathedral with my fellow graduates, I finally knew the past was behind me. I just kept thinking 'Daddy's Little Earner ' eh? .............God says NO!"
Maria was accompanied at her graduation by the senior pastors Tom and Denise Rawls of Proclaimers church in Norwich where she attends. (pictured with Maria above). Maria has been well supported by her church family throughout her studies. She became a Christian about two years ago and has been encouraged by positive and loving role models in her church.
She said, "I am continuously overwhelmed and humbled by the ways in which God blesses me in my growth and journey with Him. But further than that I am so excited to know that what He has done for me He is continuously willing and indeed eager to do for eveyone. Praise His glorious name as He breaks down those walls!"
Maria continues to work with STEP as Outreach manager working with women caught in the sex industry and she is currently working on her next book True Identity which is expected to be published next year.
Visit Maria's website at www.marialandon.co.uk
Click here to read an article by Maria about how churches can reach out to women in the sex industry