16/10/2016 Songs of Praise


16/10/2016

TV vicar Kate Bottley goes behind the scenes at London's Billingsgate Fish Market as she prepares for a Harvest Festival of the Sea. With hymn-singing and music from across the UK.


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Transcript


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It's the season of harvest,

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traditionally a time of gathering in the crops and for giving thanks

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for all God has provided throughout the year

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and today we're celebrating a harvest with a difference.

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This is the iconic Billingsgate Fish Market and I'm here to try

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and persuade traders to part with their prize catch

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for a harvest festival of the sea.

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Harvest festival!

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-That's incredibly generous of you.

-Pleasure.

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Thank you so much, bless you.

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And I'm in the very north of Scotland,

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meeting a composer inspired by this beautiful coastline.

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And in National Adoption Week, we meet a family who felt called by God

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to adopt a very special little girl.

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There are over 150 species of fish and shellfish here at Billingsgate,

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everything from cod and salmon to snapper and parrot fish

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and we've music aplenty too and hymns with a harvest theme.

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We begin with a spiritual that puts God, the Creator, at centre stage.

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I love harvest time...

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..with its tradition of displaying gifts of food in church

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and giving them to people in need.

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It's five o'clock in the morning

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and there's no plaited loaves or tins of beans -

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I've been invited here to the famous Billingsgate Fish Market

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to help collect produce for a very special church display

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which is going to go to charity.

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In its heyday, Billingsgate was the largest fish market in the world,

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with its own culture of merchants and porters.

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Although it's now moved from Old Billingsgate

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to its new site in the Docklands,

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more than 25,000 tonnes of fish from all around the globe

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are traded each year.

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It's an impressive sight.

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I love to shop, but I've never got up this early to do it.

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And for fish?

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I don't know where to start.

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Thankfully, fish seller Bill Thornton

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has over 35 years of experience.

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So, it feels really early.

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-Early?

-Why is everyone here so early?

-Early?

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I've been here since two o'clock. You're late! You've had a lie-in!

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-So, Bill, what am I looking at?

-That is a monkfish.

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-That's just the monkfish tail.

-Oh, my word.

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-There we are, that's the....

-Mackerel?

-That's mackerel.

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That's out of Aberdeen.

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-Look at that.

-That is beautiful.

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That was still swimming around a couple of days ago.

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-The colouring is beautiful.

-Gorgeous.

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And that's so cheap and so easy to eat

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and it's full of omega-3.

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That's what you want to eat.

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You're not just selling fish today, are you?

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You've got an important job today. What are we here to do?

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The important job today is the harvest festival tomorrow,

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which is an old tradition in the market.

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It's gone on, as far as I can recall,

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it must be a couple of hundred years.

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Every harvest festival,

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all the merchants down this market are very, very generous

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and they give fish, as much as they possibly can,

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then we take it to a church, St Mary-at-Hill,

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and we do a fantastic fish display

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and at the end of the day,

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all the fish is given to charity.

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Right, ready? Away we go.

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'Right, I've got my white coat on. It's time to go fishing.'

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Come on, lads, harvest festival.

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-Morning. Here we go.

-Is that for us?

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-Thank you very much.

-Oh, wow, look at that!

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Thank you. Thanks very much.

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-Harvest festival - any donations, please?

-Harvest festival?

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-Thank you so much.

-That'll be lovely.

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-Look at that.

-Snapper.

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-Thank you.

-Thank you.

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-Two oysters. One for you.

-Whoo!

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That, that you've just given us, those two boxes of oysters,

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-that's cost you money?

-Yep.

-And you always give the best,

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not just the stuff that you're going to throw away?

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No, never ever, always the best.

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Same as everyone's done, always give the best for it.

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-That's incredibly generous of you.

-Pleasure.

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Thank you so much, bless you.

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Right.

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Thank you, thank you very much.

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Wow! Look at that.

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-Harvest festival.

-Harvest festival.

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OK, shark!

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Look at it!

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This one's alive.

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Oh! Thank you so much!

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Thank you.

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-That way?

-How much have you got to spend?

-Nothing.

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-She'll pray for you tomorrow.

-I'll pray for you.

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Thank you.

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-Here, look at that.

-Oh, fantastic!

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Here.

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So, Bill, how have we done?

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This morning, we've done very, very well.

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The merchants of Billingsgate Market have been very, very generous.

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Very generous.

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I'll be honest, I'm surprised we've got as much as we have.

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-It's quite overwhelming, really.

-It is, it is.

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I just hope tomorrow, the display will match their generosity.

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And what does it mean to you to take all this into church?

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Oh, humbling.

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The reason we do it - Jesus was a fisherman

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and he went out in the Sea of Galilee with the disciples

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and when it was rough and they weren't catching anything,

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he walked out, he said, "Fish on the other side,"

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they did and up it came.

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Our fishermen are not as lucky as that!

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But He's still up there and He's still pointing them

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in the right direction, so to have this, the sea's bounty,

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for tomorrow is fantastic.

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As well as this being the harvest season,

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it's also National Adoption Week.

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I'm amazed that there are still thousands of children in the UK

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looking for a forever home and it's even more difficult

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to find homes for children with disabilities.

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Alan and Claire already had children of their own

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when they felt called by God to adopt their youngest daughter.

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The family have asked that we don't show their daughter's face

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to protect her identity.

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I had a long period of illness. Before I was ill,

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we were discussing about having the fourth child.

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It was quite a hard decision

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and twice during that time,

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I woke up having had a dream.

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God quite clearly said to me, "Give this fourth child over to me,"

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so he wanted me just to let go of this whole thing

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of having a fourth child, which is pretty hard.

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After I got better from that, we started looking at it again

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and we just thought that maybe this was the time to consider adoption

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and then suddenly we were whisked up

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with the whole process of interviews and things like that.

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We talked about it and we decided we wanted to adopt

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a child with disabilities

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and the adoption agency were kind of like, "Are you sure?"

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That was increasingly then quite a strong desire with us to provide

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a home and a family for a child that would be considered hard to place.

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Also, we felt that our children,

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they're all very caring and compassionate

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and when we talked to them about it,

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they kind of went with us on the journey.

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She was described as having a global developmental delay

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and I think that was shorthand for,

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"We know there are a range of difficulties,

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"but it's too early to describe them fully."

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-She was only 14 months when she came to us.

-14 months.

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She didn't walk till she was 23 months.

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She always presents about half the age that she is.

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She will always have a lifelong learning delay.

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Her arrival has helped my own journey with God,

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as well as, then, all that she's brought into our family life

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and just seeing our own children accommodating her needs

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as part of that growth journey for themselves.

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Adoptive families are not allowed to change their child's first name,

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but they can choose a new middle name.

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The name Amelia chose, Hope,

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proved to be prophetic in many ways.

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I've always wanted a sister since I was four,

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so it came true when I was about ten, I think.

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I chose the middle name cos it was like my middle name, Joy.

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Our hope was in God and hope that we were...

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And we were to look to him to take us where we needed to go

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and also because she was a child that perhaps wouldn't be adopted

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very easily, it was hope for her as well, hope for her future.

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Sit. Sit.

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We call her our little blessing, because she has blessed us,

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she makes us laugh so much.

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Can you get her to sit?

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-She isn't listening.

-She always enjoys having people in the home.

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I still remember one day the postman came to the door with a parcel

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and she was trying to grab him by the hand

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and trying to get him in to play a game.

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He needed to go off and do his round.

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You know, things like that that are unexpected

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and little quirks sometimes of a child

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that doesn't have the normal social boundaries

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and in some ways she embodies that name,

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she has hope because of her father, God,

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and she is a bringer of hope to others as well

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and we hope in some ways that as people perhaps hear her story,

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again, that that might encourage them and bring hope to them too.

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# Every joy, every smile

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# Every dream, every child

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# Everything is a gift from you

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# All we see, all we know

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# All we have, all we hold

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# Everything is a gift from you

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# We are thankful

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# We are thankful to you

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# Our father

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# You are faithful in all that you do

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# Lord, you are gracious to us

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# Show me your love and your kindness

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# Lord, you are gracious to us

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# Show me your love and your kindness

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# We are thankful

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# We are thankful to you

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# Our father

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# You are faithful in all

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# We are thankful

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# We are thankful to you

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# Our father

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# You are faithful in all that you do. #

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It might still be ten weeks away, but as a vicar,

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I receive loads of cards through my door at Christmas

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and I'd be really thrilled to receive

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any one of these winning designs from our Christmas card competition.

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They're on sale now and I think they're brilliant.

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The proceeds go to Children in Need.

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Visit our website...

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..to find out how to get yours.

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Next up, a harvest hymn

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that celebrates the gifts of God's creation.

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Land and sea not only provide a harvest -

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their beauty can bring inspiration too,

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as Claire McCollum has been finding out

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on the coastline of northern Scotland.

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Errollyn Wallen is an award-winning classical composer

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who was the first black female

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to have music performed at the BBC Proms,

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wrote songs for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games

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and has been awarded an MBE for services to music.

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She now spends most of her time here,

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at Strathy Lighthouse.

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I love looking out at the sea,

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the spectacular sort of living painting,

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and looking out at the raging waves

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reminds me how small I am in this world.

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What is it like, sitting here composing of an afternoon?

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It can be quite stressful, because you start with nothing

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and you've got to come up with ideas

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so I sit at the table and sometimes at the beginning of a work,

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I'm quite nervous, cos I actually don't know what will come out.

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But I trust that something will happen,

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but when you're sitting here, you're looking at the sea,

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you're looking at the waves, how they're changing.

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Sometimes you're looking for whales or you're looking for seals

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and then you're looking at the sky and without realising it,

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slowly your thought processes go along with the movement of the sea,

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the motion of the clouds,

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the ever-changing landscape.

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You write something down and I might go and try it at the piano

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and then you start to accept that the process of composing

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is actually quite slow.

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When you do stop, you just look out,

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you're not hearing traffic,

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and you start to feel attuned to the rhythms, rhythms of our world.

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And how, would you say, have hymns inspired your work?

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I was brought up as a Methodist,

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but hymns for me at school were crucial, we sang hymns every day.

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Yeah, they're part of my musical make-up.

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Tell me, Errollyn, what is it like composing sacred music?

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There's something amazing about sacred text,

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whether it's a psalm, whether it's the Bible.

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It's the thing I love most, which is that you, the composer,

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must disappear, that's why I love Bach so much.

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Everything he did was in the service of trying to get to the truth,

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trying to get to what it is, God's message.

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Your job is just to bring out the spirit of the text,

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so you feel so humble.

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So, tell me, what's next for you,

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writing in this spectacular location?

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Well, I'm working, as always, on several projects,

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but what I am also really, really keen to write

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is a mass for worship,

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and I think to be able to compose that here in these surroundings

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is going to be very special.

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'Harvest has giving at its heart and earlier I lent a hand

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'at London's famous Billingsgate Fish Market

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'to help collect fresh fish for a harvest festival of the sea...'

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Thank you so much!

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'..with the produce going to charity.'

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This historic service has taken place for almost a century

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at St Mary-at-Hill nestled in a City of London alleyway

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a stone's throw from the site of the original Billingsgate Market.

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The fish has made it to the church on time

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and this year, it falls to fish seller Bill Thornton and his friends

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to create a display that will keep this precious tradition alive.

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-How can I help, Bill?

-If you can hand me that box of fish.

-This one?

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If I can, I'll try and put it...

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The annual fish service has earned quite a name for itself

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and 200 special guests are expected.

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-It's the first one I've done.

-Is this the first one you've done?

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-First one I've done.

-Are you nervous?

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-I didn't sleep last night.

-Oh, bless you!

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Amongst those who have a lifelong connection with Billingsgate

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and its traditions are retired porters

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Bill Hallett and Frank Davis.

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Gentlemen, it's lovely to see you. I love your hats.

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It's a...

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I've used that all my...

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Carried fish on that all my life.

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It was all nutted in.

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Every package had to be nutted in and nutted out.

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-"Nutted in" meaning carried on your head?

-Yeah, yeah.

-Amazing.

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-Is that why it's got a flat top?

-Yeah.

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When you're carrying a box of fish all over the place...

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So how old were you when you started down at the old market?

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-18, I think.

-What does this mean to you, the Harvest Of The Sea?

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It means a lot.

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It means a lot, it's our tradition, it's our life, isn't it?

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It's our life.

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And you're giving praise to God, aren't you?

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You're giving praise to God for the bounty of the sea,

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that is everything.

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Bill, you look exhausted!

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-Are you tired?

-I am.

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It didn't seem like it was coming together, then all of a sudden,

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the last minute,

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it's just all come together.

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It looks absolutely amazing.

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And just in time, as dignitaries from the City of London arrive.

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We ask your blessing on this display of fish,

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the fruit of their labours,

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in the name of the Father and of the Son

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and of the Holy Spirit.

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-Amen.

-ALL:

-Amen.

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Be pleased to receive into thy protection

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all those who go down to the sea in ships.

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So, Rose, what does harvest mean to you?

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Harvest is special, it is that time of the year when we take stock,

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we gather in, we look at what we have and then we say thank you.

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One of the dangers is, because we are a wealthy nation,

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we pat ourselves on the back and we think,

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"We're doing this by ourselves."

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What harvest does is it reminds us

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that is it is about God's generosity

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and because it is God's generosity,

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then we also give back, we share with what we have been given.

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With the service complete, it's time to give the fish away.

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Most of it goes to the Seamen's Rest charity.

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So, tell me, what happens now to the fish that you've been given?

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We take it now back to the Seamen's Rest

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and we have 170 men living there

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and those 170 men will be eating fish probably for the next week.

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So it's a great feast?

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Yeah, it's a terrific feast for the men.

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These men have been at sea all their lives,

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therefore this is a great opportunity to give back

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to them and allow them to enjoy some of the labours

0:28:200:28:23

of what they've done in the past.

0:28:230:28:25

But the congregation don't miss out.

0:28:270:28:29

They get their share too

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in exchange for a donation.

0:28:310:28:33

This is part of the history of this church

0:28:330:28:37

to have this service and I think long will it continue.

0:28:370:28:41

Thanks to everyone for making me so welcome at the Harvest Of The Sea.

0:30:540:30:58

Next week, Aled travels to South Wales

0:30:580:31:00

to commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies

0:31:000:31:03

to strike that region, Aberfan.

0:31:030:31:06

Until then, it's our final hymn. Thanks for watching.

0:31:060:31:09

TV vicar Rev Kate Bottley goes behind the scenes at London's iconic Billingsgate Fish Market as she prepares for a Harvest Festival of the Sea. With inspirational hymn-singing and music from across the UK.

Music:

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands from St John at Hackney, London Think of a World Without Any Flowers from St Aidan's Church, Leeds Thankful by Yvonne Lyon We Plough the Fields and Scatter from St Patrick's Church, Jordanstown I, the Lord of Sea and Sky from St Andrew's Metropolitan Cathedral, Glasgow Eternal Father Strong to Save from St Thomas' Parish Church, Belfast For the Beauty of the Earth from St Alban's Church, Bristol.


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