My name is Howard Allen. I was born near Ballymena and educated at Ballymena Academy and Queen’s University, Belfast. I later joined the RUC and served in many of the trouble spots of Northern Ireland. I witnessed many horrible scenes first hand, including “Bloody Friday” etc, which, even now, I find difficulty in relating in detail. Once, while dressed in civilian clothes I disarmed a male person who was brandishing a loaded machine gun. I had a toe amputated and suffered a serious back injury which necessitated a long period of strong prescription painkilling drugs. I subsequently suffered from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and on the advice of my consultant, resigned from the RUC. At this time I became a born again Christian and on looking back realised that the Lord had been protecting me from the many bombs and devices, both car and parcel, that I had been only inches away from. Together, with my wife Mairigold, we started a guesthouse called “The Beeches” in the hamlet of Dunadry and gained grade “A” status.
At this time our son James and daughter Chanel were going through university. We met many varied and interesting people and, where possible, brought them to Sunday worship at Muckamore. During the 9/11 tragedy, those who were stranded and staying with us benefited enormously from the services of our minister Peter and his prayers for them and all others at that time. From becoming a Christian, I have become more and more involved in the many aspects of church life and my faith has grown beyond all my expectations. Now retired, my aim each day, is to befriend everyone and guide him or her towards a Christian faith. I strive, with the Lord’s continuing mercy, grace and love to walk, talk and act in a Christian way trying to do what Jesus would do in all the situations I find myself in.