Eventually caught and brought to justice for armed bank robbery he is serving a life sentence. Hearing the victims’ story he was much moved and on returning to his cell heard that five boys had attacked his son. His initial reaction was one of anger and vengeance, which despite being behind bars, he could still arrange; but then he paused and thought of the parents of the five boys who would become caught in that ripple of crime and decided to accept life’s trials with the same quiet and obvious courage the he had witnessed that very afternoon.

On the last day of the course he stood before the other learners, the Sycamore Team, the gathered witnesses from the community and he wept with remorse for his past actions as he read out the following:-

“To Everybody I have affected by my selfish actions.

I never meant to harm any of you and now realise just how much upset and fear I have caused.

I sincerely hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me for what I did.

If I could I would like to meet you personally to listen to anything you might wish to say to me but alas I can’t arrange this myself unless I am released.

Please be assured how sincere I am in this apology to you all and as a Christian now I have prayed that you have found peace after such a traumatic experience.

I write this card to you all after completing the Sycamore Course, a course designed to help offenders realise the damage they have caused and to help them choose a better way to live the remainder of their lives.

Had I stopped to consider the consequences of my actions sooner things could have been so very different for us all.

Please accept my heartfelt apology for upsetting you so much, I am truly sorry.

May God bless you all.”

Tyrone’s weren’t the only tear filled eyes that afternoon and he handed me the card and said I am unable to go myself to victims but you can go on my behalf and I am happy and privileged to do so

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever considered that volunteering in a prison would turn out to be so amazing and a blessing.

That was before I discovered – A prison + a Sycamore Tree Course = changed lives.”

*Name changed to protect identity

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