The Duke and Duchess have met today with a former pastor who had been addicted to drugs for many years before turning his life around and starting a charity that helps those in need.

Pastor Mick Fleming is a former drug dealer who set up Church on the Street in 2019 to help the homeless and people living in some form of poverty in Burnley and the surrounding area.

Today, Prince William and Kate visited the charity, meeting the pastor, volunteers, staff and service users to hear about their experiences first-hand after seeing television reports about Mick’s work.

Mick had been a drug addict and dealer before setting up the church. This was in addition to his childhood traumas, which included the death of his younger sister.

A pastor who spent decades using and dealing drugs before changing his life around and setting up a charity for those in need has met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today (pictured)

The Duke and Duchess met a pastor, who had been addicted to drugs for decades before turning his life around and starting a charity that helps those in need.

Mick grew in a Burnley family of working-class parents. His father was a window cleaning man. His upbringing was very rigid, but his life took a dramatic turn when he moved to Los Angeles in February 1977.

Mick’s father informed him that Ann, Ann 20 years old, had passed away. Her heart attack had caused her death.

Mick stated that “drugs were my solution” and said so. The following 30 years were hell. Absolute hell. It would be a crime to use drugs, but always alcohol.

He was just 14 years old when he began to use drugs and told anyone who asked him that he was “self-employed”.

Soon he was a drug-runner and debt collector making “crazy money”. He was charged with murder trice and armed theft three times, as well as a number of firearm offenses. 

Pastor Mick Fleming (pictured) is a former drug dealer who set up Church on the Street in 2019 to help the homeless and people living in some form of poverty in Burnley and the surrounding area

Pastor Mick Fleming (pictured), a former drug dealer, set up Church on the Street 2019 in Burnley to aid the homeless and those living in poverty.

Mick’s friend and best friend passed away from an alcohol-related accident at the age of 16. Another friend suffered a fatal overdose due to methadone abuse at 17

He was living a double life, with his wife and their three children. His mother was forced to take over the care of his children to keep social services from getting involved.

Mick had a “complete breakdown” in 2009 after almost confronting an individual with a firearm who was trying to collect a debt. He then spotted him with his two children.

“Within 24hrs, I was sectioned according to The Mental Health Act. Burnley was where I found my new home. Mick stated that all I came with was the clothes I was wearing when I arrived.

Mick and Pastor Tony met at the unit. Mick and Pastor Tony would talk and pray, and soon Mick started to help other people.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meet Carole Ellis and her great grandson Deacon Glover,11, whose mother, Grace Taylor has passed away, during a visit to charity, Church on the Street

Carole Ellis (Duchess and Duke of Cambridge) and Deacon Glover (11) meet the Duchess and the Duke during a charity visit, Church on the Street.

Then a chance meeting with a tutor at the University of Manchester eventually resulted in a degree in theology.

He failed his first year, because he struggled to read and write, and was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia, yet with support from the university, he eventually achieved a 2:1 degree.    

“I have never touched or drank any drug again. It wasn’t an easy task, and it was very painful. However, it was my way to God and to the Pandemic of 2020. It was a shock to me how many people would need my help and how I would be overcome by pain and suffering again.

He has continued to grow his project and now the Church, which is housed in an old gym, offers sanctuary and safety for all those struggling with their mental health issues.

The charity is supported by donations. It provides hot showers, laundry services, clothing banks, food banks and clothing banks. There are also recovery groups for addiction, mental health, substance abuse, counseling and other support.

The Duchess of Cambridge (right) meets Trudi and Alastair Barrie and their daughter Anastasia during a visit to charity, Church on the Street, in Burnley, Lancashire, where she met with volunteers and staff as well as a number of service users to hear about their experiences first-hand

The Duchess Of Cambridge (right), meets Trudi, Alastair and Anastasia Barrie during their visit to Church on the Street in Burnley. She met volunteers, staff, and a variety of service users, to learn about their experiences.

Pastor Mick leads the church’s services and said he hoped that the visitors would provide more support for those who use his services.

They said that they saw a BBC report about our work and thought it was very inspiring.

“I am very thankful because it means that more people will know what we do and more people will be supported by their royal highnesses.

“We depend on donations, and don’t charge any fees for our services.”  

It is open to all who visit the Church, regardless of whether they are looking for food or a warm place to rest their heads. 

Pastor Mick has the ability to build relationships with returning visitors as well as through faith to assist those in need and help them move on with their lives. 

Since its inception, the doors of the Church have been visited by many thousand seeking support. 

Mick has been in talks with various local authorities and external support agencies to provide additional support for those who struggle with mental health.