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Real-life stories: Perpetrating violence or crime

After Years In Prison, And Addicted To Drink And Drugs, His Body Finally Gave Up

One man’s journey from near death to new life

Gram Seed is living proof that Jesus is alive and still changing lives today. After years in prison, and addicted to drink and drugs, his body finally gave up. Kept alive on ‘life support’, he was prayed for by Christians. He came round from the six-day coma, spent time in rehabilitation and subsequently attended an Alpha Course. His life was transformed when he became a Christian.


Today Gram Seed could be called a gentle giant. Six foot six, he has a big heart to share his experiences with those who face similar life choices that led him to death’s door. His message is one of hope of new life by faith of Jesus Christ. He tells his story in One Step Beyond so that others might ‘learn like me just how much Jesus loves you, forgives you, no matter what you’ve done, and through that you will find real hope and a life worth living.’

Born in Middlesbrough in 1964, he was christened Graham but called Gram by his Nana. The name stuck. He lived with his grandparents even though his Nana suffered from severe depression. He had no relationship with his father and felt rejected when his mother remarried. ‘Throughout childhood,’ he says, ‘I felt that I didn’t belong anywhere. I believed that I wasn’t loved or accepted.’ He thought that Jesus was just one of the imaginary characters in his Nana’s head.

He led a rebellious childhood. Stealing money for treats led to more serious crimes and by 16 he was locked up in a Young Offenders Institute. Fighting was his way of looking after himself. ‘I started using my fists to win arguments instead of my mouth,’ he recalls.

He became one of the hooligans associated with Middlesbrough Football club. During the 80s he went to prison four times for violent crimes. In prison, Gram began to question his lifestyle and on his release, he moved away from ‘home ground’. But it wasn’t long before the temptations of his old ways led him back into trouble and another prison sentence.

Released in 1992, he returned to Middlesbrough expecting a warm welcome. He was sadly disappointed. He began drinking heavily and taking heroin and crack. ‘I was doing anything to get a buzz from life,’ he remembers. His world began to unravel – often sleeping on the streets, feeding a habit of 28 pints of White Lightning cider a day.

It was on the streets that he was befriended by a group from the local church. ‘Did I know Jesus loved me? I couldn’t see where God would fit into my life,’ he says. By 1996, Gram says ‘my insides started to shut down as I was abusing them so much’.

He was in a coma for six days. His condition was critical and his family were told to expect the worst. The young Christians turned up at the hospital to pray for him.

‘I woke up and started breathing for myself.’ Gram felt he had cheated death and knew that something special had taken place but he still needed a purpose to live. ‘But what did Jesus want to know about a scum bag like me?’

Encouraged by his local church, Oakwood Centre, he attended an Alpha course, an invitation to explore the Christian faith. During his time on Alpha, Gram decided to follow Jesus. ‘I desperately wanted it to be true, but I was scared in case nothing happened.

‘I shut my eyes and said: “Jesus, if you are real, words aren’t enough. People have told me that they loved me all my life but I never really believed it. I really need to hear it from you that you love me. If you come into my life and show me that you love me, I promise that I’ll tell everyone for the rest of my life on earth that you love them.”’ Jesus proved true to His word. This was the start of his new life. Now Gram is a wonderful friend to many people around his home town and further afield. He’s eager to tell others about God’s love and has seen many lives transformed through his ministry.


Married to Natasha, and with two young sons, Gram devotes his life to those in prison, going inside to tell them about what God has done for him. He has helped introduce Alpha into prison and offers assistance and encouragement to ex-offenders. Today he says he has ‘everything I’ve ever dreamed of. It’s only Jesus could have done that for me. Of that I’m certain.’

Story and pictures by courtesy of Challenge Newsline

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