When Larry was just nine years old, he was taking drugs like sweets after they were used by his older sister. He developed a thick skin as he learnt to fend for himself while living on a notorious North London housing estate. With three brothers and two sisters, and a father who frequently drank away the family budget, he knuckled down to a life of scant provision and hand-me-downs.
But there was consolation. The harsh discipline, from his ex-royal marine father, who had little time for loving concern, was tempered by the earnest prayers of his Christian mother. It was those prayers that helped release Larry from the cruel grasp of hell.
At 16 years-old Larry joined the Royal Navy. The grim realities of life were mercilessly unreeled before his young , inexperienced eyes. He discovered the body of a fellow sailor who hanged himself. He learnt of another who was reported missing, presumed dead, at sea.
The morbid tales of American ex-serviceman who served in Vietnam fuelled a fear for war and made Larry cry as he prepared for combat against Argentina in the “corn beef” war and a close encounter with death.
He sunk to new depths of distress, swapping a switch-blade for an ounce of grass as an escalating drug habit became his only crutch. He was forced to endure a rough intimidation regime at a naval prison as sentence for an escape to civilian life when he deliberately failed his naval exams. In reality, it was a desperate bid to halt the sickening memories that stole his boyhood and propelled him into rapid manhood.
His stormy life continued away from the high seas. Determined to blot out the past, he drifted into further chaos with an assortment of casual jobs that financed his drug consumption. Home became a myriad of dank, inhospitable squats and a frightening escapade into the occult ensnared his mind as his life continued to crumble.
Larry also became a dealer, cutting and selling lethal drug concoctions for £100 an ounce while acid trips numbed him into unconsciousness for days at a time. He was on a fast track with danger and he became entangled in a deep net of criminal conspiracy that included death threats.
The menacing threads that gripped his life were about to be cut. As he played out his last tarot card game during a typical drug induced stupor, Larry heard a voice telling him to go back to the family home. He had nothing to lose.
His return marked a dramatic new course for life when his mother summoned the local church minister to pray for her son. Larry’s body shook so much that he had to be held down, such was the involuntary movement of his body.
The effects of that simple prayer of faith became obvious. “I saw a bright, white light and heard an audible voice say: ‘I am your father’. As I put up my hand to reach out and touch I became completely calm.” remembers Larry.
Within seconds the debilitating effects of a terrifying seven year drug addiction had been removed by the mighty hand of God. The broken down nervous system and drug induced psychosis that had waged its ruin across Larry’s life had immediately been put to rights. Larry does not minimise the effects. “Most people who do what I did do not come out of it alive or take their own life.”
Within a year, Larry was immersed in a life of faith, and four years later he was baptised. The scripture lessons that had left him cold as a boy, now warmed his heart and he studied the bible with enthusiasm.
Armed with God’s word he has since refuelled his boyhood biker days with a well oiled life of mission across the secular biking scene. Once he dismounted from his bike to kneel and pray openly for a fellow biker in a road traffic accident – that humble, unashamed act of faith immediately connected one onlooker with God.
Divine protection – including being hurled from his bike over the bonnet of an approaching car – has kept him on his Saviour’s highway.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8 v 37-39