Ex-hooligan and hard man makes pact with God
Violence, intrigue and danger gripped Norfolk man Carl Clark's life in his quest for his next adrenalin fix. It took him to European football terraces, hard-wired political demonstrations and later as an undercover source for Special Branch, reports Sandie Shirley.
Now the man, whose life was shattered as a little boy when his father left home, is pulling a different set of punches for his Saviour having ditched the fast-paced exploits, drugs and the occult for the real 'fix' of his life - Jesus.
With a new heart for social justice and reform, his former intelligence connections have led him to European Congress to meet ambassadors, generals and other foreign dignitaries to advise on military issues, firearms and terrorism. As a pastoral outreach worker in Thetford, he is bringing hope and purpose to hundreds of youngsters, while founding a successful award-winning community scheme and speaking up for those without a voice as a district and town councilor
"Five years ago I was homeless and living in the woods after a broken marriage and no job but I was still smiling and optimistic, knowing God was by my side," said Carl.
"Today Jesus has restored the past with new freedom and vitality and He can do that for anyone since there are always second, third and fourth chances with Him. I now have the perfect job, wonderful wife, great friends and a great future - anything is possible with God."
Carl's life was scarred at the tender age of eight when his father left the family home and his mother had a succession of boyfriends. The security he craved from a doting father was never underpinned and he became a loner, bullied at school.
He took vengeance on the bullies when he took up martial arts but he also used his combat tactics at National Front and Irish Terrorist Loyalist Group demonstrations and they landed him in jail as a football hooligan. Disillusioned with the hard-line political scene, he worked under-cover for Israeli Intelligence, thriving amid the intrigue and danger until he was caught up in a bloody anti-Nazi movement. "I suffered a broken back and was unable to walk after being savagely beaten. I was taking painkillers for 18 months and could not work for 13 years," recalls Carl.
Despite the injuries, he was contacted by Special Branch while continuing to blow the whistle on racism, football and Irish terror groups. Carl was operating in a deepening political arena to halt violence and armed robberies but the undercover work took its toll when he was 'set-up' with an enormous cache of drugs in the boot of his car and he later took an overdose.
His path to destruction ended when he made a pact with God while attending a Christian youth event and working as a steward on the promise of free meals.
"Torrential rain flooded the camp and 1500 youngsters were evacuated from the site but their spirits were not dampened," says Carl. "They were singing at nine at night; I could not get over their happiness and peace. The amphetamines I had taken for eight years had not given me that sort of happiness," said Carl, who immediately ditched them without withdrawal symptoms.
"All through my life God was taking me in the right direction but it took until then to follow Him. I still fail sometimes but He is there to pick me up and He is the one who will never go away."