February saw an inspirational guest visitor to the Ignite Youth Group at Christ Church, Downend. 98 young people listened, fully engaged, as Dave Jeal shared his story of how he was transformed from football hooligan to holy man!
Dave is a Bristol Rovers fan and was convicted of malicious wounding in 1988 and as a result, was banned for five years from the club’s old Eastville stadium. He also got into trouble for hooliganism during England's Euro 92 campaign in Sweden where he became sickened by the violence. Dave is now the Chaplain of Bristol Rovers Football Club. Dave said that the change happened after he agreed to go to church with a girlfriend and there he found his salvation.
He said: “I went to church and hated it. Two blokes came up and said they could pray for me. “What went through my mind was whether there actually is a God or shall I nut this guy and knock him out. One of them then said, ‘If you turn to Jesus your life will change. All that hurt, all the anger, all the pain in your life will go’. So I just prayed with them and everything changed". Since that time his life has been turned around. Alongside his role as Chaplain of 'The Gas', he also gives regular sermons at St James Church in Lockleaze.