29/05/2016 Songs of Praise


29/05/2016

One hundred years after the Battle of Jutland, Claire McCollum is aboard HMS Caroline, the only remaining ship to have fought in this defining sea battle of the First World War.


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Transcript


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This Tuesday marks the centenary of World War I's Battle of Jutland,

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the biggest sea battle in Royal Naval history.

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HMS Caroline is the only surviving ship

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and now she's found a permanent home here in Belfast as a museum.

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On today's Songs Of Praise, I'm taking a sneak peek aboard

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before she opens to the public this week.

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I'll be hearing about the role faith played as thousands of sailors

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risked their lives for God, King and country.

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And I meet the grandson of a young sailor at Jutland

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to discover his story from that momentous day.

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And, after Mental Health Awareness Week, Diane Louise Jordan find out

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how one mother is coping following the death of her teenage daughter.

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I just cried and I just said goodbye and,

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"We will see each other again one day".

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Later in the programme, we'll have a performance from

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an Emmy award-winning Irish tenor Eamonn McCrystal.

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But let's begin with a traditional favourite and appropriate hymn

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for aboard ship, Will Your Anchor Hold.

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On 31st May, 1916, 151 Royal Navy warships came face-to-face

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with 99 ships from the German High Seas Fleet off the coast of Denmark.

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The battle of Jutland was the defining battle of World War I

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and the largest clash of battleships in history.

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The only remaining ship is HMS Caroline and, 100 years on,

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she's been transformed into a visitors' attraction.

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I met up with the curator

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and the Chaplain to the Fleet in the powerhouse of the ship.

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Caroline was a light cruiser.

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Her role was to be ahead of the battle fleet,

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really going out to scout ahead

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and to defend the fleet from attack from torpedoes.

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We have a number of accounts,

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primarily from diaries of sailors who were on board Caroline.

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"A hell of a fight going on. Three torpedoes missed us by yards.

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"Shells falling round. That was at 7:20pm".

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You know, one minute it's calm.

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The next minute, literally, all hell has broken loose.

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It must have been very trying on the men

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and on their faith in their equipment, in their ships

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and in God, I imagine.

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Of the 250 ships involved in the battle, the British lost 14

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and the Germans, 11, resulting in a huge loss of life.

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The British lost over 6,000 and the German fleet had 2,500 dead as well.

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Some of the British losses were incredible

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because some of the bigger ships, the battle cruisers,

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had over 1,000 people,

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so, like losing a small town or a small village in one stroke.

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To lose your friends by seeing a ship that was wrecked,

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seeing the name on that ship and knowing who was in there,

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you'd know you'd lost friends.

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Most of the ships had their own naval chaplains on board

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to help the men through these troubled times.

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Chaplains traditionally wear no rank

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and talk of themselves as being the friend and adviser of all onboard.

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So, we have accounts of them

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actually walking among the men to steady them, if you like,

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and helping them to get over and get on with their duty

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during some of these quite harrowing things.

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But some went beyond comforting others.

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HMS Warrior was damaged very severely in the action.

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As they were ordered to abandon ship,

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the chaplain decided that most important thing he must do

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was to rescue the sacred vessels, and I have them here.

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The original HMS Warrior from the First World War.

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Over 100 years old and you can see here is engraved, 31st of May, 1916.

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And these are still in use today.

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So, a piece of lovely naval history

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and of faith history passed down hand-to-hand.

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Visitors to HMS Caroline will be able to see how the men

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lived on board.

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Life at sea would have been pretty tough for most of the 289 crew.

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So, Claire, this is one of the mess areas we have on board.

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The majority of the ship's company would have lived

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in a space like this.

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They would have eaten here and also slept here.

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They wouldn't really have had much personal space to themselves.

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But it wasn't all eat, sleep and work.

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One of the most popular things on board were concert parties.

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On Caroline, these were known as "Carry Ons"

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and the men would have spent quite a lot of time preparing for those.

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And they also had a ship's cat.

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The facilities look fairly basic.

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Oh, this is more like it, Victoria. A bit more space for the captain.

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Yes, the captain had the most amount of personal space on board.

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I think I could have coped a bit better up here, I have to say.

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But it could also be lonely at the top.

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Quite often the captain would have dined alone.

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This was important to keep separation between him and the men.

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Our next hymn is one you can imagine the captain

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encouraging his men to sing as they gathered for services on board.

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Many of those who survived World War I suffered terribly

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from what we now know as post-traumatic stress.

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Mental health issues are nothing new,

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but we are only just beginning to understand them.

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When it comes to the numbers of young people affected today,

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the figures paint an alarming picture.

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Diane has been to Huntingdon to find out more.

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Recent studies show that one in ten children and young people

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have a mental health diagnosis

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and among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety

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have increased by 70% in the past 25 years.

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But, of course, behind every statistic is a human story -

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individuals and their loved ones facing huge challenges

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and often suffering great pain.

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Jane Hector's daughter, Chantelle, suffered with severe mental

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illness and, tragically, four years ago, took her own life.

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Jane, what was Chantelle like?

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Chantelle was a fun loving girl, 16-year-old.

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She'd always be there for her friends regardless of what

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she was going through.

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The day that she died I'd gone and knocked on her door,

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I'd knocked on her door and she just fell to the floor.

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I don't know how long she'd been there, but, immediately, I just...

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..went on my knees, gathered her in my arms and...

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I just phoned 999.

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And the lady on the telephone she was telling me to do CPR,

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and what to do.

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But I knew she were gone.

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She were just... I knew she'd gone.

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I didn't find Chantelle till about 10:20 at night-time,

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but in that day I'd recorded a programme which was about Easter

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and it was this pastor who was talking to a single mum

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who had just lost her only son to a heroin overdose.

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And the pastor said to her,

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"God knows what you're going through."

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And she started to say, "How can God know...?"

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And then stopped, realising that God lost his son, Jesus.

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He died.

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And so he did know what she were going through.

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To me, that was God saying to me, "I know what you're going through".

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After losing Chantelle, Jane began helping with a drop-in cafe

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ran by her church.

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It supports young people through any struggles they may be facing

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and it's called the D-Caf.

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This week, we're starting a new series, Testing Times.

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There are a range of reasons that people come

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together in community here.

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I think what undergirds that all is the sense of not feeling valued

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and not valuing themselves.

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My anxiety has got a lot better since coming here, to be honest.

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I go out, I'll go and meet new people and, you know,

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I don't spend all my time sat in my flat any more.

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It just felt like the whole world was shutting me out,

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it was like no-one was trying to help me, except from this place.

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'It makes me feel that I belong somewhere'

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and being at D-Caf is basically a whole new family.

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-Did you make a wish?

-I did!

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I do believe there is a stigma attached to mental health

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and suicide

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and people are just afraid to talk about it.

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She had a poorly mind and if she hadn't had this mental illness,

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she wouldn't have taken her own life.

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They took her...to the ambulance outside and then wrapped her up.

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She just looked so peaceful.

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I just cried and I just said, "Goodbye and...

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"be happy where you are and...

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"we WILL see each other again one day."

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# Good Shepherd of my soul come dwell with me

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# Take all I am and mould your likeness in me

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# Before the cross of Christ

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# This is my sacrifice

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# A life laid down and ready to follow

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# Doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo Doo-doo-doo doo-doo

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# The troubled find their peace in true surrender

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# And prisoners their release from chains of anger

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# In springs of living grace

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# I find a resting place

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# To rise refreshed and ready to follow

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# Doo-doo doo-doo doo-doo doo Doo-doo-doo doo-doo

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# And when my days are gone

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# My strength is failing

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# He'll carry me along

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# To death's unveiling

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# Earth's struggles overcome

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# Heaven's journey just begun

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# To search Christ's depths and ever to follow

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# To search Christ's depths and ever to follow. #

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Here in Northern Ireland, we are very proud of our musical exports

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and one young man who has taken America by storm

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is singer Eamonn McCrystal.

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On 1st of November, 1995, I will be doing my own show.

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-# Oh, Danny boy... #

-APPLAUSE

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From putting on his own shows in his mother's living room,

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Eamonn now performs on some of the biggest stages in the world.

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He's recorded nine albums, hosts his own television show

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and has even appeared in two movies,

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but he's not afraid to show his faith in everything he does.

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'On a recent visit home, I caught up with Eamonn for a chat

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'in the tea room at Killymoon Castle.'

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Eamonn, wonderful to have you back here in Cookstown.

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It's always great to come home. This is where it all started

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and, I mean, if these people in Cookstown

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hadn't supported me all my life, I wouldn't be where I am today.

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This has been a very quick turnaround, really,

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from performing here in Northern Ireland to now being stateside,

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but you are a firm believer in...

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-your path is laid out for you, aren't you?

-Absolutely.

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That Jeremiah quote, "I know the plans I have in mind for you,"

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it really has stuck with me all my life,

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whatever those forks in the road come.

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I had such faith in it that it's kept me strong,

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even when things weren't going so well.

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Is faith very important in which songs that you go for?

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Oh, absolutely.

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# You raise me up

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# So I can stand on mountains... #

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It really has to speak to me and it has to tell the message

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and it has to have a great story, that's always the number one.

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Us, from Northern Ireland, we're not that great

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at telling our stories in our faith and so when I went to America,

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I was blown away by how great they are at, you know,

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describing their faith and having these wonderful faith stories

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and sharing their faiths with others.

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A lot of people would say

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doing a Christian album was a risky thing to do

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because you somehow pigeonhole yourself

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or you put yourself in a box,

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that you are not accessible to other people, but, you know,

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I think it's the opposite because fans of mine in America

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or otherwise who aren't believers,

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I think it's a great vehicle,

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"Oh, look, he also does this and let's see what that music is,"

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and, hopefully, through that music, then they will come to know Jesus.

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But I do that with all roles or anything that I choose,

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even movie roles, for example.

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I'm in a new movie, God's Not Dead 2.

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To be a part of a movie that is so wonderful,

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about standing up for your faith

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and standing up for what you believe in, I've been very blessed

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that I have had the opportunities to follow all these paths.

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And you are sharing your talents with your hometown.

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I always start the shows, before we go to America,

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the tours and everything,

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I always come to Cookstown first and let them hear the new music

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and I know if they like it, then it will do well.

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Otherwise, they are a good grounding force for me.

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People in Cookstown tell you how they feel.

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Americans, not always, but people at home soon tell you

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if they like something or not!

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And do they all know that you are Emmy award-winning?

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-I'm sure they do!

-I hope so! I brought it with me,

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-so if they don't know, they soon will!

-THEY LAUGH

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And you are going to be performing for us now If You Listen.

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It's a very, very special song to you, isn't it?

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All you have to do is listen to the lyrics

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and listen to what God is telling us and if we just follow that voice,

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that small voice that is there then we will be OK.

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# When you're drifting

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# Like you're lost at sea

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# And you're helpless

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# And your heart's not free

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# Just keep searching

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# For your soul's desire

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# And you will find it if you reach inside

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# If you listen

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# You will hear

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# If you listen

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# I am near

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# For I am the wind

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# That steers you when you sail

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# I am the breeze

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# To warm the falling rain

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# I'll be your shelter

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# When you face the storm

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# I'll be your shelter

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# And save you from all harm

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# When you're lonely

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# And you feel alone

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# You need somewhere just to call your home

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When you're weary

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# And the mountain's high

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# And you struggle

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# Just to see the sky

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# If you listen

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# You will hear

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# If you listen

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# I am near

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# For I am the wind that steers you when you sail

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# I am the breeze to warm the falling rain

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# I'll be your shelter when you face the storm

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# I'll be your shelter

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# And save you from all harm

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# Oh

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-# For I am the wind

-I am the wind

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# That steers you when you sail

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-# I am the breeze

-I am the breeze

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# To warm the falling rain

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-# I'll be your shelter

-I'll be your shelter

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# When you face the storm

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# I'll be your shelter

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# And save you from all harm. #

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A lot of the most revealing information

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that we have about the Battle of Jutland

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comes from the personal diaries of the sailors.

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Pat Avery's grandfather, Basil Phillips, was a telegraphist

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on board HMS Ambuscade at Jutland.

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A telegraphist's job would have been to transmit and receive messages

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from other ships to their ship,

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or vice versa, in Morse code.

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And he kept this incredible diary

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and I know that it was possibly not strictly allowed during those times.

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No, I think that authority would have frowned very heavily

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had they discovered the fact that he was keeping a diary

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with quite sensitive information.

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However, because he was trained in Morse code,

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he was able to write this down at the point of it actually happening

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in Morse code and then, in quieter moments,

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would surreptitiously write them up into a longhand diary.

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So, what did your grandfather say?

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I think that once things started to quieten down

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and they realised that they had, number one, survived,

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but secondly, you know, the impact of the enormity of what had happened

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began to sort of sink in and the following morning,

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"8.50am, rubbish from ships sunk floating in the water.

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"Passed German captain and sailors," and, in brackets, "dead".

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You know, that brings home the enormous understanding

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of what had actually happened.

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Your grandfather had another very important role. Tell me about that.

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Yes, he was a chaplain's assistant.

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My grandfather had a Christian upbringing,

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which included learning to play the church organ

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and so I think that was very quickly recognised by the naval chaplains.

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And how important would somebody like Pat's grandfather, Basil,

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have been to the ship's chaplain?

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Incredibly important

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because church services would have taken place

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largely on the upper deck for the whole ship's company

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because that was the only place you could have it and squeeze everybody in,

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so to be able to play the small, portable harmonium

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that was issued by the Admiralty for that purpose

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was really important for the whole ship's company.

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He cared very deeply for his colleagues.

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My grandfather was only 21 at the time of the Battle of Jutland,

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but many of his colleagues were younger than him.

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The fact that he had a link to the naval chaplain

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probably assisted these men greatly and I think it's important

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to remember that these men are not just statistics in history books.

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They were real men with hopes, fears, pain, ambition

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and in that sense, we must never forget.

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By Tuesday, HMS Caroline will be finished

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in time for the anniversary commemorations

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and on the day, BBC One will broadcast a live service

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to mark the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.

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Also, for rugby league supporters,

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don't forget our fans' choir competition is still running.

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The details of how to enter and terms and conditions

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are on the Songs Of Praise website.

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Next week, gospel singer extraordinaire Ruby Turner

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surprises commuters at Birmingham New Street station

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with a flash-mob style performance for BBC Music Day,

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so don't miss that. But now, though,

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it's time for our final hymn

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and it's from Ballymena, here in Northern Ireland.

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# Whoa-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh

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# Whoa-oh whoa-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh

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# Whoa-oh Whoa-oh-oh-oh. #

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One hundred years after the Battle of Jutland, Claire McCollum is aboard HMS Caroline, the only remaining ship to have fought in this defining sea battle of the First World War. Plus there is music from Emmy Award-winning Irish tenor Eamonn McCrystal.

Music:

Will Your Anchor Hold from St. Aidan's Church, Leeds Eternal Father Strong to Save from St. Thomas' Parish Church, Belfast Courage, Brother, Do Not Stumble from St. Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen Good Shepherd of My Soul by Melisma If You Listen by Eamonn McCrystal All My Hope on God Is Founded from St. Alban's Church, Bristol Before the Throne of God Above from Green Pastures, Ballymena.


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