31/07/2016 Songs of Praise


31/07/2016

Ahead of the Olympics in Rio, Josie d'Arby returns to the venue for London 2012 to meet Olympic heroes and hopefuls, and Pam Rhodes is in the Lake District.


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Transcript


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It's four years

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since London hosted what the world's press called the best ever Olympics,

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and the most successful for Team GB in over a century.

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On Friday, it all starts all over again nearly 6,000 miles away

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in Rio de Janeiro,

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so today on Songs Of Praise, we've come back to the East End of London

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to the Olympic Park to meet with Olympic heroes and hopefuls.

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I'm here in the Lake District to mark the 150th anniversary

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of the birth of Beatrix Potter.

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And we meet the first of our unsung heroes who make up our

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Challenge Cup Choir, Phyllis from North Shields.

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First, we've got music from the Keswick Convention

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and an amazing performance from Gregory Porter.

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But our first hymn

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is one that I remember from school, and I still love it today,

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A joyous hymn of praise from St Alban's Cathedral.

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Debbie Flood is a seasoned Olympian, having won two medals in rowing.

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Her faith has always played an important part in her life,

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but initially her sporting career was on a different path.

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Well, running was my first love, but judo was my main sport, really.

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So I got into the junior British team in the judo,

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and really we used the rowing machine for part of our fitness.

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And someone came up to me in the gym one day and said, "Are you a rower?"

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And I said, "No."

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-It was kind of, "Oh, I wonder what rowing would be like."

-Yeah.

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And went on a learn to row course, and it kind of started from there.

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Debbie and the team won silver in Athens and went into Beijing

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the favourites to take gold, but in the final moments of the race

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they were overtaken by China and had to settle again for second place.

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-Disappointments do come, and it can hit you hard.

-Yeah.

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And I guess I learnt along the way to, you know,

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-not hold on to disappointment for too long...

-Yeah.

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-..to kind of brush yourself off.

-Yeah.

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My faith was a central part in being able to do that.

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The world's view of you might be based on performances and

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your medals, but I know that God's view of me and his love

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doesn't change, whether I win or lose, that's completely unchanging.

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And it's been a real solid base for me.

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And did you find that you were able to grow in different ways

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-as a result of the disappointment?

-Definitely.

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And it reminds you that, just because I'm a Christian,

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doesn't mean that I'm going to have worldly success, but actually

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-it's just walking forward faithfully and embracing life...

-Yeah.

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..in front of you.

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Debbie is now retired, but works with the group Christians in Sport,

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and so is off to Rio to support team GB.

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But before she goes,

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she's taking me out to see if I have Olympic potential.

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Flood and d'Arby. Our medal hopes.

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Ooh, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

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LAUGHTER

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-So who are our medal hopes this year?

-The rowing team

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will definitely be bringing back some medals this year.

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Really strong men's team,

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and a slightly smaller women's team than London this year,

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but still it's going to be a great team to be watching.

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You'll be an Olympic hero for many young rowers, I'm sure, Deb.

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Who are you Olympic heroes?

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It wasn't until I went to Athens

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that I really got to know Sir Steve Redgrave, actually,

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and of course he's a legend in his five Olympic gold medals,

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but he also gave up his day to come and talk to my crew

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and gave us hours of his experience.

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And I just thought, wow,

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that is someone who has massively put back into sport.

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# Here's to the heroes

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# Those few who dare

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# Heading for glory

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# Living a prayer

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# Here's to the heroes

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# Who change our lives

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# Thanks to the heroes

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# Freedom survives

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# Here's to the heroes

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-# Who never rest

-They never rest

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-# They are the chosen

-The chosen

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-# We are the blessed

-We are the blessed

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# Here's to the heroes

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-# Who aim so high

-Who aim so high

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# Here's to the heroes

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# Who do or die

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# Here's to the heroes

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# Who aim so high

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# Here's to the heroes

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# Who do or die

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# Here's to the heroes

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# Who do

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# Or die. #

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CHEERING

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The Olympics isn't the only major sporting event happening

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this summer. On Saturday 27th of August,

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the biggest date of the Rugby League calendar happens,

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the Challenge Cup final.

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So we went to meet super fan Phyllis to find out why she was chosen

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as one of our Challenge Cup final choir members

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singing Abide With Me at Wembley.

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Phyllis became hooked on Rugby League when her three sons

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started playing the game at school.

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We as a family felt as if this was the family sport

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to be involved in, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The passion was there, it was set, and that was the beginning.

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Phyllis made sure her boys got to every match possible,

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no matter where it was in the country.

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There was limited competition in the north-east

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so we put ourselves forward and we played in the Yorkshire League,

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so obviously every other weekend we were travelling.

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He said to me,

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"Do you remember how many counties we've come through today?"

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He says, "We've travelled through five." I says, "Is that all?

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"That's not a record by any means."

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But he says, "I don't know anyone else that would do that for me."

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Phyllis's dedication to the game and her boys paid off,

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as all three have played Rugby League to the highest level.

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They were making a career from a hobby, and the bonus,

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that it was professional, is absolutely awesome.

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Once the boys were grown-up, Phyllis finally had some time on her hands.

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But not one to sit around, she has for the last 15 years

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been involved in the North Shields Live at Home scheme.

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'All live alone, all wish to stay alone in their own homes,

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'but we provide lunch, clothes and suchlike.'

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And they thoroughly enjoy the food, the company,

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the interaction with everyone,

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and it's companionship.

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Because loneliness is a killer.

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I'd rather have you enjoy it than struggle.

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I would describe Phyllis, along with the other ones,

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as little angels.

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We take two buses to get here and then a little walk,

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but it's worth it, because it's a good time out.

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Happy days.

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Phyllis's dedication to her boys' love of rugby

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was why her friend Jane nominated her for the competition.

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I think because she's given up so much of her life to rugby,

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and this is something they can give back to her,

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an experience she's going to thoroughly enjoy.

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For Phyllis, the feeling behind the words of Abide With Me

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are just as important as singing them at Wembley.

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It's a hymn about giving strength through trials in your life,

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through troubles in your life, and just to keep you going.

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And if you watch the words,

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you listen to them,

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the emotion takes over, to be honest.

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And in case she gets any last-minute jitters, she can always turn to

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someone who's played in the final before...

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-I'm too old for this.

-I know!

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..her son Chris,

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who captained Huddersfield into the Challenge Cup final in 2006.

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It's not just another day, it's not just another game. It's a final.

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It's about performing well, but it's also soaking up everything,

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soaking up the fans and the atmosphere, and the fact that

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-you're at Wembley Stadium, which is THE iconic stadium...

-Yeah.

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-..in the history of sport. So, no pressure.

-Yeah.

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I know I'll be nervous,

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-and I'm going to do my best to try and contain that.

-Yeah.

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But just to believe in what I'm doing.

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And if you'd like to hear the stories

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behind all 32 of our winners,

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then please go to our website:

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bbc.co.uk/songsofpraise.

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2016 marks a special milestone

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for one of the nation's favourite authors, Beatrix Potter.

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It's 150 years since her birth,

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and Pam Rhodes is in the Lake District to find out more about her.

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Beatrix Potter has inspired generations of children

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with her love of the countryside and its wildlife,

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and yet she was a city girl, born in London.

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But every summer the family escaped for a country holiday,

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often coming to the heart of the Lake District.

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And how's this for holiday home?

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This is Wray Castle where Beatrix and her family came on their

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very first day in the Lake District,

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and where she met a man who was to make a huge impression on her life.

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He was Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, the vicar here at Wray.

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They were quite a well-to-do family, came to stay here in the castle,

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and obviously the local vicar would be

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one of the people that they would entertain while they were here.

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He was a charismatic gentleman,

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and she absolutely picked up on his passion for the outdoors

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and country life, and that really began to influence her thinking,

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and looking after the countryside.

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And would she have felt comfortable

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-in the company of a religious man, the local vicar?

-Absolutely.

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Religion was something that they grew up with,

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went to church every Sunday.

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She was actually a Unitarian and her family went to a Unitarian church

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in London, so having a religious gentleman come round as part of

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their discussion would have been quite a natural thing to happen.

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Did he encourage her writing?

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He did, he saw the original story letter that she'd written to

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her friend, which was the original story of Peter Rabbit,

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and encouraged her to turn that into a storybook.

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And he also introduced her to Frederick Warne and Son

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who eventually published the story.

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Beatrix became one of the most successful children's authors ever,

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often writing here at Hill Top Farm,

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'the house she bought with the profits from that very first book.'

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Hill Top was always Beatrix's bolthole, and became the inspiration

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for many of her stories and characters.

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For instance, Samuel Whiskers and Tom Kitten is set around the house,

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and she exactly copied bits of the house to put into the illustrations.

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PAM LAUGHS

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Now, what happed her faith as life went on?

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There's evidence around the house

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of various different influences upon her faith,

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but I think it was of comfort to her,

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but she wasn't tied to any particular church.

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She found an affinity with the Quakers.

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She would often go to the meeting house there.

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-I see she has a family Bible here.

-Yes.

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Beatrix is well-known as a sheep farmer, and it's quite interesting

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that the Bible seems to naturally fall open at Psalm 23.

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Beatrix took great comfort in memorising passages of the Bible,

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and would come back to those passages in more gloomy times

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to comfort her.

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What would you say is her legacy?

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First of all, she left her land and property to the National Trust,

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which amounts to 4,000 acres of the Lake District,

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which is there for everyone to enjoy forever.

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And also, these characters that generation after generation

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seem to find so endearing.

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This is so clearly the garden which Beatrix Potter pictured

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Peter Rabbit and his friends at play, and the same was true

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when she went a little further north and she came up with

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the characters of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Squirrel Nutkin.

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That was near Keswick,

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and that's where we're off to now for our next piece of music.

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It's just six weeks to one of the jewels

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of the Songs Of Praise calendar, the Big Sing.

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And it promises to be a spectacular event

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with our magnificent stage choirs,

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a 5,000-strong audience and star guests

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all introduced by our very own Aled Jones and David Grant.

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Tickets are available now from the Royal Albert Hall box office.

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You can find more information on the Songs Of Praise website:

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Gregory Porter performed at the Big Sing back in 2014,

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but here's a brand-new performance by him recorded especially for us.

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# Amazing grace

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# Shall always be my song of praise

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# For it was grace

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# That brought my liberty

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# I do not know

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# Just how he came to love me so

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# He looked beyond all my faults

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# And saw my need

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# I shall forever

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# Lift my eyes to Calvary

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# To view the cross

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# Where Jesus died for me

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# How marvellous

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# That grace

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# That caught my falling soul

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# He looked beyond all my faults

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# And saw my need

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# I shall forever

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# Lift my eyes to Calvary

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# To view the cross

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# Where Jesus died for me

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# How marvellous

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# That grace

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# That caught my falling soul

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# He looked beyond

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# He looked beyond

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# He looked beyond

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# All my faults

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# And saw my needs. #

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Today, the Olympic Park is alive with the sound of the crowds

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that have come to cheer on the athletes on the Anniversary Games,

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many of whom will hope that this will result in them booking

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a place as part of Team GB in Rio.

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One of them is 15-year-old Kare Adenegan from Coventry

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who four years ago didn't even take part in sport.

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It was really tough at school because I couldn't do sport

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for health and safety reasons and I lost

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a lot of confidence and self-esteem through that,

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but watching the London 2012 Paralympic Games

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I saw athletes like Hannah Cockcroft and David Weir

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participating in wheelchair racing

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and at the time I didn't realise

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that people with disabilities could do athletics.

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She's rapidly risen to compete with her heroes in wheelchair racing

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and now has to juggle her sport, school and spiritual life.

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Monday is usually a rest day. Tuesday, I'm in the gym.

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Wednesday, I'm on the track. Thursday, I'm swimming.

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Friday, I'm on the track.

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Saturday, usually I've got a competition and Sunday,

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I'm on the track to race, as well.

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-So it's a lot to try and balance.

-Is your church supporting you?

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Yeah, my church has been so amazing.

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I go to Renewal Christian Centre in Solihull,

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and they've been so encouraging and every time I go they're always like,

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"How are you doing? Are you all right?"

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And I just know that they're praying for me

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and they're supporting me and watching my races. It's really good.

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Do you get nervous before a race?

0:27:320:27:34

Yes, I get really, really nervous before a race, yeah.

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I just try and focus my mind.

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I listen to a lot of Christian music before my races

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and that just encourages me and keeps me positive.

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One of Kare's mentors is Paralympian Anne Wafula-Strike.

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Born in Mihuu, Kenya,

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Anne contracted polio when she was two and a half years old.

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As a result, she lost the use of her legs.

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But the villagers thought she was cursed.

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Some actually thought that it was witchcraft,

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some thought it was

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a curse from God.

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My parents must have done something

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very terrible, therefore,

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they were being punished.

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And because of that, we became outcasts and the villagers

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asked my parents to give me up to die.

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And that's why we flee because they actually tried to burn our house

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twice and my father was so afraid

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and he decided to move us all into the capital city.

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Since retiring from racing, Anne works with disability charities

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and UK Sport mentoring young athletes like Kare.

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I look back now and I believe that God put me

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on this platform for a reason, to be able to reach out to other people

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with disabilities and actually say to them,

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if you embrace sport, if you find a sport that you are good in,

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it will empower your life in a different way

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or in a different capacity.

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On race day, all the training paid off as Kare achieved

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a personal best time in the 100 metres,

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a silver medal and a place in the team competing in Rio.

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Really good that I could show good form,

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especially at such a big event.

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There's so many people watching.

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I've never really done a PB at an international meet before, so

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I am so, so happy and I'm really excited for the future.

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We wish all of our athletes the best of luck

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in the Olympics and Paralympics.

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At great sporting events there is naturally an outpouring

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of pride and support for the countries taking part,

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but our final hymn today reflects the whole world cheering as one.

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Ahead of the Olympics in Rio, Josie d'Arby returns to the venue for London 2012 to meet Olympic heroes and hopefuls, and Pam Rhodes is in the Lake District to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter.

Music: At The Name Of Jesus from St Albans Cathedral, St Albans Here's To The Heroes by Amore Abide With Me from St Aidan's Church, Leeds Creation Sings from the Keswick Convention 2015 He Looked Beyond My Faults by Gregory Porter GiveThanks With A Grateful Heart from St Germain's Church, Birmingham Let All The World In Every Corner Sing from Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich.


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