1. St Paul is perhaps the person we think of first. He was much opposed to the followers of Jesus and set about persecuting Christians. Chapter 9 of The Acts of of the Apostles (the version here is from The New Englis Bible tells us that 'Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the High Priest and applied for letters to the synagogues at Damascus authorizing him to arrest anyone he found, men or women, who followed the new way, and bring them to Jerusalem. While he was still on the road and nearing Damascus, suddenly a light flashed from the sky all around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'
'Tell me, Lord,' he said, 'who you are.'
The voice answered, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.'
Saul, who took the new name of Paul, became one of the foremost of the early apostles of the Christian church.
2. John Newton (1725-1807) who became curate-in-charge of the parish of Olney, was formerly engaged in the slave trade. He is best known for his hymns such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'How sweet the name of Jesus sounds'.
3. John Profumo (1915-2006) was a highly successful Conservative member of Parliament until he was caught up in a scandal which led to his resignation as Secretary of State for War. He devoted his life from then on to charitable work, especially with the disadvantaged in the East End of London.
4. Dame Stella Rimington said recently in an interview with Metro, 'I believe in reinventing oneself from time to time'. She was a high-ranking Civil Servant and was the head of MI5, where she had worked from the late 1960s, from 1992 to 1996. Since her retirement she has found many other outlets for her talents, among them writing thrillers. Her most recent novel is Dead Line
5. Today Dick Francis is a highly successful writer but his earlier career was as a pretty successful jockey.
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