The United Diocese of Down And Dromore


Message of life streamed from underground at Willowfield Church

Message of life streamed from underground at Willowfield Church

Friday 24 February 2017

John Edwards will live stream help and advice to addicts from inside a buried coffin.

John Edwards, the founder of ‘Walking Free’, a charity set up to help suicidal and addicted people is set to be buried alive on Wednesday 1 to Friday 3 March.

Preparations are already being made at a piece of ground alongside Willowfield Parish Church, East Belfast.  JCBs have dug a hole for John to “go under” in a coffin 8ft long x 3.5ft high x 4ft wide, enabling him to sit up as well as lie down. The coffin has been kitted out with electrics and broadband.

“I’m a former addict,” said Edwards, “and I’ve been clean and sober for 25 years. I’m making a very large coffin, I’m burying it in East Belfast and I’m going to live in it for three days.”


The shocking stunt is set to raise awareness of the needs of despairing people while John broadcasts stories of hope from a coffin.

“I know this is a radical move but people are continually contacting me who are either suicidal or who know friends or family who are. My plan is to speak to them from the grave before they get there and show them hope.”

During this time, Edwards and his team will live stream from the coffin through the Walking Free website and live on Facebook. He will take calls, emails, Skype and texts from all kinds of people in East Belfast and around the world, who in turn will share their stories, live streaming through the coffin. This feed will potentially reach millions of viewers around the world, and Edwards will offer messages of hope by communicating with them in this way.  

“People will communicate with me how they have navigated and overcome trauma, suicide attempts, coping with addicted children or family members as well as addiction to substance and behavior,” said Edwards.

Edwards has pioneered rehabs, overcome Hepatitis C from dirty needles and spent time in mental homes back in the 1970s. John, with God’s help has changed his life and has been happily married for 20 years. He is a committed Christian, a stepfather and grandfather, and he is both privileged and humbled to help those who’ve lost hope.

Willowfield Rector, David McClay comments, “John is going into the coffin on Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent. The season of Lent is one when Christians talk about dying to ourselves.  But the message from the grave is one of hope – hope for those who are struggling with addictions, hope for those who feel life is hopeless, and hope of life that is eternal.” coffin2

“John knows that he is going to be buried on March 1st.  The rest of us don’t know when we will be buried, when our lives will end – but for every Christian there is the confident hope of life forever because of what Jesus has won for us on the cross. He did it so that we don’t have to pay the price for our sin and guilt. John Edwards demonstrates the amazing transformation that Jesus can bring to our lives. I invite you to join in the live streaming of this event and hear for yourself!”

Find the coffin at Willowfield Parish Church, My Lady’s Road, Belfast BT6 8FE,  March 1–3rd. Follow the live stream on social media: #GraveChat. More information can be found at