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Mistaken Identity, Near Death and True Love

Savage knife attacks happen far too often and the death rate from such events is far too high. When you hear that someone has survived it gives you a lift—a victory over crime—something to celebrate!

Then you read just how long it can take to recover, that perhaps after twenty years recovery is still on going and you begin to realise the extreme effects of survival. This is Darren Barden’s reality. This is Darren’s story—its two years since Darren published his book, so in reality we’re talking twenty-four years since this near fatal attack.

Let's Skip To The Good Bits, Darren's book is available on Amazon
CLICK HERE

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Delving a little deeper, you come to realise it’s a story of mistaken identity. A senseless attack on someone uninvolved in whatever might have been going on in whatever world he suddenly became mixed up within, when all he actually wanted was to continue with his quiet family life.

That’s unfathomable when you think about it—so we suggest you don’t try to analyse it too much.

Left for dead with his wife and baby boy (who was teething) upstairs, Darren bleeds out in the family home. Somehow, rather than calling out for his wife, Darren manages to phone the police and for an ambulance and then his parents—an act which he duly regretted.

Surviving his wounds turned out to be the easy part!

The battle that commenced against depression and PTSD would grip Darren for the years that followed—they took him to the darkest corners of his psyche and from reading his book his paranoia must have pushed his wife Wendy to her limits, but she turned out to be Darren’s rock.

Their story is also one of love and each time Darren tried to test boundaries Wendy was there to pull him in closer to her. They stood the test of time, they endured what most couples wouldn’t have handled—their love survived. Mercifully.

 

 Darren and Wendy Barden

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Imagine, if you would for a moment (and this is something Donna can relate with all too well) that you experience trauma. There is a lot of action happening around you that perhaps you’re unaware of at the time. Your loved ones are very aware of what is happening, and they witness events you don’t. Darren has, by all accounts, [eventually] recovered well from what he physically went through but still struggles with what his family have experienced. Reading his account in “Lets Skip To The Good Bits” is brutal enough but to listen to him speaking, with a broken voice, during a recent podcast (Conversation with Criminals) talking about Wendy treading through his blood that was seeping through her toes is still too much for him to comprehend; that he phoned his parents and they were there unknowing if he’d survived, still to this day, too much for him—even after twenty-four years.

The moment someone picks up a knife there is intent to cause this much devastation, or death, and the consequences that leaves behind. Donna is glad to know Darren, that he both survived and had the courage to share his story and is now venturing into helping others. January (Covid-19 dependent) sees the beginning of a new venture and the start of filming of his own podcast, The Barber Chair, where Darren will interview inspirational people, also with a story to share.


Darren sitting in The Barber's Chair, the setting for his Podcast
YouTube LINK HERE

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All that is left to say, on behalf of us both, is to wish Darren all the best for the future of his podcast and his continuing success inspiring others with his story and the shared stories of his guests.

By Donna Siggers and David Last

Change Your Life Put Down Your Knife!

Starting the campaign, Change Your Life Put Down Your Knife around six months ago, Ben Spann built upon foundations for what has turned out to be the fastest growing knife campaign group in the UK. Gaining support from members and many reformed high-profile ex criminals willing to get the message out there, people like Terry Ellis (who was our first ever feature on this blog), Vinny Bradish and Chris Lambrianou have created a strong message that is here to stay.


To join the Facebook group "Change Your Life Put Down Your Knife"
PRESS HERE

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Ben says, “we are the group that represents the people: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles but most of all every child in the U.K. Our campaign values are simple Prevent, Rehabilitate and Educate.”

Fully committed to the ongoing work that’s involved, the team are aware how much work is required to get them to where they want to be. Ben conveys that with “the support from every parent and grandparent to give us the voice we need. To be able to stand up for what is right our future generations shouldn’t feel the need to have to carry a blade as a necessity like a phone or watch.”

Campaigners: Romail Essex, Vinny Bradish, Tony Turner, Ben Spann,

Chris Lambrianou, Kimberly Ann Overton, Jim Lamianou, and Terry Ellis

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Knife crime effects every part of our country and if you’re blinded to that, please take a long, hard look at your community. Unfortunately, it’s become part of culture. It’s a known fact that if you are carrying there’s a greater likelihood of you using rather than not if the opportunity arises—if you carry consider leaving it behind.

Ben speaks for the group, Change Your Life Put Down Your Knife when he says that they “do not tolerate our kids being groomed into gangs, nor will they tolerate them being the victims or the perpetrators of knife crime. Enough is enough. We are doing great things but as you can imagine there is no overnight fix.”

Ben states that working within communities is one of the important aspects of what they are about and it’s been a great pleasure to have had a close association with Leamington Amateur Boxing Club, ran by Ollie O’Neil who are doing fantastic work with our youth, as are Aces Boxing Club, ran by Harmi Singh. Now in the process of becoming the proud [main] sponsors of Coventry City Supporter’s Club, the distinctive logo for the group will soon be displayed on their new kits.

Ben Spann handing over a donation to Leamington Spa Boxing Club

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Acutely aware that not all youth are sport minded the group have also been working closely with Hills FM, a Coventry based radio station and also with the homeless and youth services and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services within the area.

As a group, Ben and his team, are looking to carry out educational talks in schools and youth facilities all over the UK, once the Covid-19 situation allows. In the meantime, they will be seeking ways in which our future generations can be occupied, since funding for youth facilities has been cut year upon year. Ben ensures us that their campaign is “enrolling new schemes on a weekly basis as well as being affiliated with many sport facilities locally and across the UK.”

He goes on the say “Thanks for the support of our members and we look forward to all new members who have the same views on this subject.”


by Donna Siggers and David Last

Mindset Changed Perception Giving New Meaning To 'Life' For Terry Ellis

Terry Ellis has taken social media by storm with his story. Podcasts are gaining thousands of views within hours of airing and although each interview shares the same subject matter they delve into a different depth of Terry’s past. His debut book “Living Amongst The Beasts” is an Amazon bestseller, so what sparks international interest in a man born to humble beginnings in London’s East End?

Although I’ve not met Terry we network on various platforms and in within groups. Before I delve into his past, I’d like to share a little of what he’s involved in now—and it seems that anything that this man puts his mind and energy into succeeds. During lockdown Terry and a small team decided to arrange for food parcels to be delivered to vulnerable members of his community and what started out as a small gesture ended up as a mammoth undertaking of enormous effort. Donations kept arriving and parcels were delivered for the duration of lockdown.

Terry continues to give back to society. He helps run a Facebook group “Change your life, put down your knife!” This group brings together both victims and perpetrators of knife crime. A non-judgmental group the aim is to educate, raise awareness and to help others at a community level. Again, there are no half measures with politicians and celebrities involved giving Terry and the other organisers the momentum required to make this a successful endeavour.

I could continue!

Its great to see Terry’s positivity shining so brightly when I know, through reading his book “Living Amongst The Beasts” and from listening to the podcasts, how he used to live out his life. Although I could go into details, I’d rather you read it for yourself but I will share this much: having risen to earn himself the notoriety of one of Britain’s top underworld armed robbers, Terry was the mastermind behind the 2007 $4M heist at Verizon Business Centre in Kings Cross, London. Resulting from this he spent time at Britain’s only full therapeutic prison—HMP Grendon—where he describes living amongst the beasts: rapists, child killers and paedophiles with whom he would sit alongside in therapy. For the first time in his life, violence couldn’t be his response and instead he learnt to discover the positives in fellow humans, whatever crime they had committed. Something I personally find humbling. In changing his own mindset, he was able to break the cycle that allowed therapy to work for him. Adjusting his behaviour and thus his quality of life has meant returning to society and a crime-free way of life.

Living Amongst The Beasts” isn’t just about Terry’s own journey. He’s written it in a way that will flair your own emotions in a way that will spark a self-discovery journey of your own if you allow it to, as you begin to look inwards at yourself. It truly is an inspirational and encouraging book and suitable for anyone seeking to change.

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Terry has a second book that’s newly released, that he’s co-authored with Christopher Alston. “HMP Help Me Prepare: A guide to prison for first timers and their families”. The blurb reads as follows: Help me prepare is a guide to prison for anyone facing a custodial sentence in the UK, their families or anyone with an interest in how the UK prison system works.

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The guide is designed to give people first-hand accounts of what to expect and offers advice on how to navigate your way through the system and the challenges everyone faces.

The guide has been written by people with first-hand experience of the prison system totalling over sixty years and includes sections from former inmates and prison officers. There is also a health and wellbeing section written by an external holistic health and wellness coach which details ways in which inmates can practice a more mindful approach to their sentence.

The guide takes you from the courtroom through to the end of the sentence with detailed descriptions of each step along the way and a comprehensive resource guide to assist you.

 

To follow Terry on social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerryEllis992 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/555616178346718/

#Change Your Live, Put Down Your Knife!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/668677394003375/