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Man who used to rob vans is now inspiring youngsters to realize their full potential

When an armored van robbery went wrong in London, John McAvoy ended up in jail. But he didn't let the verdict define his destiny.

Man who used to rob vans is now inspiring youngsters to realize their full potential
Cover Image Source: Instagram/@jonnymac83

Testimonies of people who have changed the course of their lives inspire us to go beyond. They encourage us and that is exactly what the world needs today. Often, it is believed that those who commit a mistake once may have a second chance. But those who mess up twice are rarely given a chance to redeem. However, Positive News shared a story that says otherwise. The man who was to serve a double life sentence changed his life upside down and is now inspiring others to do the same. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by John McAvoy (@jonnymac83)


 

 

We are talking about John McAvoy. Having planned a solid robbery of $314,613 with his friend Kevin back in 2005, things didn’t go well when Kevin didn’t show up to hijack the armored vehicle in London and the entire plan went haywire. The cops were keeping a tab on the duo but McAvoy wasn’t ready for jail as it would mean a double life sentence this time. What escalated from the attempted robbery was a high chase with shouting, sirens and more. But it was to no avail as he was later caught by police and sent to jail. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by John McAvoy (@jonnymac83)


 

 

Years later, today, he is a role model, triathlete, coach and much more. Having hailed from a family holding a criminal record, John didn’t have much to look up to. After his mother's ex, Billy Tobins, was released from prison, McAvoy learned the way of life from him. Some of these lessons included not talking on the phone, covering mouth while speaking in public and not speaking in houses.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by John McAvoy (@jonnymac83)


 

 At 16, when most youngsters just enjoy life and get excited about high school and a driver’s permit, John bought his first shotgun. At 24, he was awaiting trial for a robbery in Eltham, London. It was all a way of life to follow for John till he one day heard that his friend had passed away in a police chase. He was quoted as saying by Positive News, “From that moment I knew I wanted to get out of this toxic world.” That's the moment life began to change for McAvoy. Having messed up many times, he finally decided to break out of it. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by John McAvoy (@jonnymac83)


 

The article revealed that he resorted to gyming and sports to divert himself. A police officer Darren Davis noticed his hustle and supported him. He would guide McAvoy with a list of world records and supervised permissions to break those records during his time in prison. “Without Darren, there would be no ‘me,’ ” McAvoy said. To this day, Darren has never missed one of his races.

What followed from there was only hustling and encouragement, a way forward. Years later, being the successful person that he is, McAvoy wishes to pass it on. He started the Alpine Run project in collaboration with Youth Beyond Borders and is leading disadvantaged children to realize their full potential. Right from mentoring, allotting a trained coach and more, McAvoy is here to make their dreams come true. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by John McAvoy (@jonnymac83)


 

 

McAvoy related to these children. He understood what it felt like to be unable to achieve due to lack of opportunity and guidance. He has worked hard to make his life an example to such children. Additionally, he has also used his skills and life to provide opportunities to these children. “I want to get my story out there. I’ve seen so many kids get broken by the system. I want to show kids that there is light on the other side if you just keep going. You’ve just got to keep going.”

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