22/05/2016 Songs of Praise


22/05/2016

For Dementia Awareness Week, Pam Rhodes finds out how the recreation of a 1950s street is helping people with the disease.


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Transcript


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This week, I'm taking a stroll down memory lane.

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Do you remember when milk came in glass bottles?

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And shops had signs outside them

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and you posted your letters in a postbox in the wall?

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But, you know, behind this wonderfully evocative

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recreation of a 1950s street is a very serious purpose.

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ALL SING

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In Dementia Awareness Week,

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I find out how a care home in Bristol

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is using singing and nostalgia

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to help its residents engage in the present.

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And I'm in Liverpool to join a spectacular pageant

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inspired by the late Pope John Paul II.

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And Josie hears from the sister

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of a teenage murder victim, Anthony Walker,

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whose trust in God transformed her from crime victim to crime fighter.

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Later, we'll be hearing from Welsh classical singers Richard and Adam,

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but now our first hymn

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sung in the magnificent surroundings of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.

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And in that most traditional setting, a modern favourite -

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King Of The Ages.

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BIRDSONG

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It's Dementia Awareness Week.

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Now, of course, dementia is a condition that most of us hope

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we'll never have to deal with,

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but at care homes like this one here in Bristol,

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they're coming up with all sorts of innovative ways

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to help people who are affected.

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Christopher Taylor is manager of this family-run care home,

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which is using nostalgia to help residents with dementia.

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Our experience is that to have really good conversations

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with the people who live with us,

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it's better to focus on long-term memories.

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And we feel that those conversations

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are so important to people's wellbeing.

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It can affect someone's mood

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for the rest of the day in a positive way, really.

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How did you use to spend your ration?

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Well, we used to go regularly and get our ration for the month.

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And so we always had, like, something in the cupboard.

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It's really lovely to see, actually.

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That person who you're not used to seeing alive like that,

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really, really enjoy that conversation.

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-Did you go to church much?

-They encouraged us to go to church.

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We used to like singing the hymns.

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And enjoy, you know, if we could remember it,

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-go back home and sing it.

-BOTH CHUCKLE

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-ALL:

-# Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep... #

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Hymn singing not only brings people together,

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it's also good for the brain.

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Rita Severn has Alzheimer's and regularly attends a service here

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run by church volunteers.

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# For those in peril on the sea. #

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I remember Mum as a Sunday-school teacher.

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I'd see her at the front of church leading choruses, telling stories.

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She gave her faith out to people,

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shared it out to lots and lots of children.

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And now it's much more, I think,

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taking part in the songs and hymns

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as a receiver rather than a deliverer of that faith.

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How important has your own faith been

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in coping with your mum's illness as it progressed?

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Church is very important, but my faith is really when I'm on my own

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and I go outside and I just need that time just to stop

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and let it all just take hold of me.

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Let God hold on to all my worries,

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concerns, fears, and just take them away,

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so that I can come back in and be that positive, bouncy,

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slightly annoying daughter that I am sometimes.

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# ..when we cry to Thee... #

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It was very moving hearing the service,

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when she was unable to communicate in any other way,

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that she knew the words of Eternal Father.

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The words were coming and I noticed during that

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the foot was tapping, there was engagement in the words.

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Life has a habit of throwing challenges at us,

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and it's how we react that makes us who we are.

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Josie has been to visit a woman in Liverpool

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whose life was rocked by tragedy,

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and she responded in a most remarkable way.

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In 2005, the brutal murder of teenager Anthony Walker

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stunned the nation.

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Anthony Walker, an 18-year-old sixth-form student

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was attacked with an axe by a group of men in Huyton near Liverpool.

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Almost overnight, the Walker family found themselves

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and their Christian faith in the media spotlight.

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But one member of the family was spurred on by her faith

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and the memory of her brother

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to join the fight against crime in a very real way.

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We'll keep going and with this serious message.

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That faith was to fuel Anthony's sister Dominique

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as she became a public campaigner against race hate crime.

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Raised in a Christian family, this was the only way to deal with it,

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to be led by the spirit almost.

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It's fight or flight. And I think with us

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it was sort of fight, but a different type of fight

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for what was to come.

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Some of Dominique's battles began very close to home,

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when she discovered the identity of her brother's killers.

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I knew them. We grew up together, played on the same playground.

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So, obviously, that on top of everything else,

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it was...it was very difficult.

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I was very angry.

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Anthony's killers were eventually found and convicted.

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And Dominique's determination to bring them to justice

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led to a remarkable change in career.

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In 2009, she became a police officer

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and is now an expert in race hate crime,

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running the Anthony Walker Foundation

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and training her fellow officers.

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-Hi, Dom.

-You all right, Kev?

-Not too bad. How are you?

-Let's go.

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I didn't want to be a police officer,

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it just was never in my thoughts,

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but I suppose God knows my heart.

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And I think it could have only been God that could've got me in.

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What role does faith play for you now?

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My relationship with God is them little utterances,

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them little words that you say.

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You know, sometimes I'll say for God to protect me

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is one of the main things.

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"No weapon formed against me shall prosper,"

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is always something that I've always said.

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And I've found in incidents, for example,

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where it's really serious,

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they will look to you.

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Like, "You're of faith, aren't you? Let's pray."

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And that's how it is, because...

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in them incidents where it's literally life or death,

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God is sometimes the only thing that people have.

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Can I ask you about forgiveness

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and how you've gone about forgiving these people?

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Jesus said that we must forgive, seventy times seven we must forgive,

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that's what the Bible says.

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From when we were kids, my mum always told us that you forgive,

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that you...you move on.

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I've lived it and I know what it costs,

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but for me to be functioning now as an adult,

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I wouldn't be able to do it any other way

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than through forgiveness and through God.

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There's just no other way.

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What do you think Anthony

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-would make of who you are today?

-DOMINIQUE SPLUTTERS

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He would just not be able to fathom

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that I could be this type of person.

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I think he always knew it was in me,

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and it shouldn't have took me to lose him to get that,

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but I suppose that's God's way sometimes.

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Sometimes it's the hard way, but I think he would be proud.

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-I think he would be.

-DOMINIQUE LAUGHS

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# I didn't know today would be our last

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# Or that I'd have to say goodbye to you so fast

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# I'm so numb, I can't feel any more

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# Praying you'd just walk back through that door

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# And tell me that I was only dreaming

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# You're not really gone as long as I believe

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# There will be another angel

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# Around the throne tonight

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# Your love lives on inside of me

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# And I will hold on tight

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# It's not my place to question

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# Only God knows why

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# I'm just jealous of the angels

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# Around the throne tonight

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# You always made my troubles feel so small

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# You were always there to catch me when I'd fall

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# In a world where heroes come and go

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# Well, God just took the only one I know

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# So I'll hold you as close as I can

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# Longing for the day

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# When I see your face again

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# But until then

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# God must need another angel

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# Around the throne tonight

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# Your love lives on inside of me

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# And I will hold on tight

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# It's not my place to question

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# Only God knows why

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# I'm just jealous of the angels

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# Around the throne tonight

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# I'm just jealous of the angels

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# Around the throne...tonight. #

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-We're just going to bring out some teas.

-Lovely.

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Oh, lots of people love gardening,

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and even on a rainy day like today, you can still get your hands dirty

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and smell the soil and love the colours

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of the plants and the flowers.

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In fact, it seems to me that often gardening

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is as much about exercising the mind as the body.

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CHATTER

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There you go, that's perfect.

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Well, today is Trinity Sunday,

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and so the words of our next hymn remind us of the mystery of God.

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That there is one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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People find strength in community,

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and that's something I've witnessed in abundance here today.

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But Liverpool is one city that's renowned for its community spirit,

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not least because of its long history of forging strong links

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between its different faith communities.

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Last weekend, Claire experienced that unity in action for herself

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when she joined thousands of Christians from across Merseyside

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for the Liverpool Pentecost Pageant.

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The first pageant took place in 1982,

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when Pope John Paul II visited Liverpool.

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It was devised by Anglican bishop David Sheppard

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and Roman Catholic Archbishop Derek Worlock

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to bring churches together,

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something that's continued today by their successors.

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For over 30 years now, we've been standing together

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wanting to make some sort of witness together to the city.

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MUSIC PLAYS

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It's something that we can do together.

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It gives a very big witness to the people of Liverpool

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that the Christian people and those who are our friends

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are very happy to be public about our faith

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and to show that it is a joyous and a happy faith.

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And that joy's not just for inside the church buildings,

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but it's out on the street as well.

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Matthew, you're the man in charge here.

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What is special about the Pentecost Pageant?

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Well, for me the star is this extraordinary street.

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I mean, what other street in the UK, in Europe,

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has two cathedrals on either end?

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And for me, I guess, the pageant is very much an opportunity for us all

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to come together and celebrate around the themes of Pentecost.

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And it's a massive undertaking.

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I imagine you've been working at this for hours and weeks and months.

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There's something like 350 performers taking part,

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alongside the 2,000 people that have been involved in the procession.

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The logistics of all of that have been, actually, great fun.

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MUSIC PLAYS

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-Can you give us a twirl?

-Yeah.

-Yeah, sure.

-Look at that. Look at that.

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SHE LAUGHS

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CHURCH BELL CHIMES

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..the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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-ALL:

-Amen.

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We're going inside the Metropolitan Cathedral now for our next hymn,

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which assures us that God loves and cares for every single one of us.

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I worked in a mission hospital in Africa in the 1970s.

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It was quite an experience because people would arrive by ambulance,

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dragged along over the sand on these...contraptions.

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Or, if they were able to walk, they walked.

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70 miles sometimes.

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Dr Jennifer Bute is a retired GP whose Christian faith

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took her to Mozambique when she was in her 20s.

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I'd said to God once, I would never ever run a place by myself,

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but when I arrived, the doctor said he'd been there for 15 years

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and disappeared for a while.

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So I was often the only doctor there.

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Jennifer retired from practising medicine 11 years ago,

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and since then she's been devoting all of her time

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to communicating in any way she can

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the best ways to help people with dementia.

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And her passion for that comes from her own experience of the condition.

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I had the usual memory problems,

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but assumed it was because I was very busy.

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I didn't think there was any more reason to it.

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And then...I started getting lost.

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And then it got worse,

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I didn't recognise people that I ought to know.

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I didn't recognise relatives.

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When I first got my diagnosis of dementia,

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I thought, "Well, God, how am I meant to respond to this?"

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My father had dementia, and I understood it professionally,

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and then having it from the inside, I thought this was a gift from God.

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And each day I say to God,

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"Well, another day,

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"I need your help in it, but I'm here for whatever."

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-Oh, dear.

-You know I always write this down?

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That's all right, it keeps us on our toes.

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LAUGHTER

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Each week, Jennifer holds a class to help others with dementia.

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She uses a Japanese therapy based on arithmetic and wordplay.

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It's been shown to slow down memory loss.

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Sometimes I describe dementia as being trapped inside a house

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and the key has been thrown away.

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And one is often frightened,

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because one can't get through that door,

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one can't communicate with people outside,

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and they sometimes can't communicate with you.

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But just as in a house,

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if the front door is locked, surely there's a back door.

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-I put down a dandelion.

-That will do. That'll do.

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That'll do. It's a yellow flower. Well done.

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And I've found that's so with people with dementia,

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there's always a way to communicate.

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It is not true that there is no way in, the person is still there.

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When I was in Africa, patients would often give us presents,

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give me presents as thank yous.

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It might be bananas or a chicken.

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Well, one day, they gave me a clay pot, which I still have.

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It was a wonderful clay pot

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and I sent it home to England in the post.

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How daft can you be?

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And it arrived in hundreds of pieces, as you can see.

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SHE LAUGHS

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And people said, "Well, it's no use - it's worthless!"

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But I loved it...

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and so I put it together again.

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And to me now, it's more precious than it was before.

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It's no good for holding water,

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but that doesn't mean to say it hasn't got worth.

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And I think we can become more beautiful

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because of the difficulties and because of the brokenness.

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So this pot to me is very precious.

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# I'll walk with God from this day on

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# His helping hand, I'll lean upon

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# This is my prayer, my humble plea

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# May the Lord be ever with me

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# There is no death though eyes grow dim

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# There is no fear when I'm near to Him

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# I'll lean on Him for ever

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# And He'll forsake me never

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-BOTH:

-# He will not fail me

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# As long as my faith is strong

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# Whatever road I may walk alone

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# I'll walk with God

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# I'll take His hand

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# I'll talk with God

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# He'll understand

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# I'll pray to Him

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# Each day to Him

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# And He'll hear the words that I say

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# His hand will guide my throne and rod

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# And I'll never walk alone

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# While I walk with God. #

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Well, even though it's time for us to say goodbye to the '50s,

0:30:510:30:55

next week we'll be rolling back the decades even further, to 1916.

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Claire will be marking the anniversary

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of the Battle of Jutland.

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But today, it's time for our final hymn,

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written by Victorian philanthropist Anna Waring,

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who lived and worked here in Bristol.

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In Heavenly Love Abiding was her expression

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of the hope and joy of Christ's love,

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no matter what challenges life might send our way.

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For Dementia Awareness Week, Pam Rhodes finds out how the recreation of a 1950s street is helping people with the disease. And the programme joins a spectacular pageant in Liverpool inspired by Pope John Paul II.

Music:

King of the Ages from Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Eternal Father, Strong to Save from Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff Jealous of the Angels from St. Sepulchre's Church, London Holy, Holy, Holy from the Hackney Empire, London God Is Love from Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral I'll Walk with God from St German's Church, Cardiff In Heavenly Love Abiding from St German's Church, Cardiff.


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