Carers Week Songs of Praise


Carers Week

Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker and his wife Tiggy reveal what it is like to become a carer when your partner has to battle cancer.


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Transcript


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MUSIC: Dvorak's New World Symphony

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Today on Songs of Praise, we're in the hilltop town

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of Shaftesbury in Dorset,

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a setting that inspired novelist Thomas Hardy and many others.

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It's also home to Gold Hill,

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made famous by an advert for a certain well-known bread.

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HE WHISTLES "NEW WORLD SYMPHONY"

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I'm here to meet legendary Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker,

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and his wife, Tiggy.

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They live nearby, and they've got an inspirational story to tell.

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In Carers Week, Johnnie and Tiggy have some advice

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for carers and those being cared for.

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If somebody is trying to help you in the best possible way

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they know how, accept the love.

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And to mark the Queen's official birthday,

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I'm here at Woolwich Barracks to meet the Kings Troop

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as they prepare for their part in the Queen's birthday celebrations,

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Trooping the Colour.

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I've never done one before, and I imagine it'll be frankly terrifying.

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Just staying on your horse, if nothing else.

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And we meet the canine companion who's given a boy a new life.

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Caddie's a guardian angel, because I believe God made him to help me.

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And, of course, we've got great songs and hymns to inspire you,

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beginning with this one, from Perth in Scotland,

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by the hymn writer, John Bell.

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It's estimated that across Great Britain,

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6,000 people become carers every day, taking on responsibilities

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for a loved one who is old, ill, or has a disability.

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I've come here to Shaftesbury to meet a couple who had

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a very dramatic introduction to the challenges of caring,

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and now want to raise the profile of carers,

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and with music a shared passion, I can't wait to meet them.

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DJ legend Johnnie Walker made his name in the '60s

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with the pirate radio station Radio Caroline,

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and today, he still pulls in his fans,

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with his Radio 2 show, Sounds Of The '70s.

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# Sounds Of The '70s with Johnnie Walker... #

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But back in 2003, Johnnie was diagnosed with cancer of the colon,

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just weeks after returning from honeymoon.

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And I went round to the hospital, and Johnnie was stood on the steps,

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outside the door, and he opened up his arms to me,

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and just went, "Tiggs, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

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We've walked down the aisle together,

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and you made the vows about "In sickness and in health,"

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but you don't expect the sickness to happen within three months.

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So you were suddenly, unexpectedly, thrust into the role of carer.

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-What was that like?

-Well, it was quite a shock.

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People think about caring as just being about practically,

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you know, feeding somebody, making sure they take their pills,

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taking them to the hospital.

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But then there's the emotional side.

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You've got to carry the person that you love who is ill,

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but you actually can't tell them how you're suffering,

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and how you're afraid, and it was... It was tough.

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Did you, at that time, have any sense

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of what Tiggy was going through?

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Yeah -I wanted to be a good patient in the hospital,

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and then I would take out my frustrations, I think, on Tiggs.

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I remember the first time I went for chemotherapy at Barts Hospital,

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Tiggy was just trying to be too helpful, and I said,

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"Oh, for God's sake, this is my cancer -

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"I'll deal with it how I like."

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We had an argument outside Barts,

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and I stormed off into Barts on my own.

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Johnnie stepped away from the airwaves to have chemotherapy,

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and told his listeners that he was taking a break.

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I got so many letters and e-mails from listeners just wishing me well.

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Some listeners wrote to me and said,

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"We're saying prayers for you in our local church."

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That was wonderful, to know about that. So I was comforted by that.

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Thankfully Johnnie got through his cancer,

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but then, in 2013, the disease struck again,

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but this time, it was Tiggy who was diagnosed -

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with breast cancer.

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I was in complete shock.

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I sobbed my way, you know, down the hospital corridors,

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assuming I was about to die.

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Johnnie, did you find the roles different when they were reversed?

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Yeah, because, as a carer, you really are concerned for the person.

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-You just wish they weren't ill to begin with.

-Mmm.

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And then you just want to be the best way of support that you can be.

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Being a patient, suddenly there's so much love thrown at you,

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but when you're the carer, you're very ignored.

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And whenever now we hear of somebody, a friend, who is ill,

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I always say to their partner, "How are you?

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"How are YOU doing? Look after YOURSELF."

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You've both been through a lot.

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What are the things that matter to you most now?

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I think it's the simple things in life.

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This beautiful view, which always just amazes us.

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Now we live for the day and the moment,

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much more than that thing of living for the future.

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And in Carers Week, I would say, to those being cared for,

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"Don't do what I did outside Barts, and sort of push her away.

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"Somebody is trying to help you in the best possible way they know how.

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"Accept the love."

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# When I am down

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# And oh, my soul so weary

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# When troubles come

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# And my heart burdened be

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# Then I am still

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# And wait here in the silence

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# Until you come

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# And sit a while with me

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# You raise me up

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# So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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# To walk on stormy seas

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-ALL:

-# I am strong

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# When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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# To walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong

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# When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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# To walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong

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# When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# So I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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# To walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong

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# When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be. #

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Every June, the Queen celebrates her official birthday,

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and next weekend, Horse Guards Parade

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plays host to the Queen's birthday parade,

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also known as Trooping the Colour.

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Pam has been finding out more from those involved in the ceremony.

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The custom known as Trooping the Colour

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dates back to the 17th Century, when colours of a regiment

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were used as a rallying point in battle.

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However, in recent times,

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it's become part of a ceremony to mark the sovereign's birthday.

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Throughout her reign, the Queen has always been very open

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about how important her personal faith is to her.

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But what can faith mean to soldiers who risk their lives

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for Queen and country?

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These new barracks in Woolwich were opened in 2012,

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and house officer accommodation, a state-of-the-art equestrian centre,

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and a veterinary service, which we'll be visiting later on.

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I'm keen to catch up with Major Jim Luck,

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who has the great honour of commanding these officers

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during the ceremony for Her Majesty's birthday celebrations.

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So, with the Trooping the Colour ceremony coming up,

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what's your role, Jim?

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The troop pass Her Majesty the Queen on Horse Guards,

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first at the walk, and then at the trot,

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and then we lead off into Green Park, and fire a 41-gun salute.

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So, having so much responsibility - is it a bit nerve-wracking for you?

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Yes - I've never done one before,

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and I imagine it'll be frankly terrifying.

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Just staying on your horse, if nothing else,

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but also, yeah, hopefully just making sure

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that everyone follows you.

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Having served three tours in Afghanistan,

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Major Luck has seen combat on the front line,

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and found solace in his faith.

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I personally do find it useful, and it has given me strength

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during some, sort of, darker times on tour, yes.

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What did you pray for?

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HE CLEARS HIS THROAT

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Strength.

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Erm...

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..and just that everything would work out well on the day.

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Circle right, 30 metres.

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Preparation is well under way.

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SHE CHUCKLES

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Makes your arm ache, I can tell you that, but look - sparkling!

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The King's Troop is made up of 150 soldiers,

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seven officers, and 131 horses.

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Captain Caroline Bullard trained as a civilian vet,

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but now has a vital role within the unit.

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So, there's a bit of a snack going on here. Who's this?

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This is Louis, who belongs to A Subsection,

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and is one of the leaders for the gun team.

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And he absolutely loves it.

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What made you choose to be an army vet?

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I've been to Afghanistan with the Military Working Dogs.

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I went to France last year for the Somme centenary.

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So there's some very, very poignant moments throughout my career,

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which I wasn't getting that fulfilment

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when I was in private practice.

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When times are challenging, where's your faith in that?

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You use it very much to sit quietly.

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You go to the church on the Sunday,

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and it allows you just a bit of normality.

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Because I know my parents went to church a lot

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when I was in Afghanistan, and praying that I was OK.

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So you use it as a bit of support, a lot of support.

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And even some of our bravest officers need that helping hand.

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We all serve Queen and country as well as our mates,

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but for me, there is something higher, as well.

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And there's no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.

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Coming up, the tale of one boy and his dog.

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But first, a beautiful performance

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of Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace by Tessera.

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# Make me a channel of your peace

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# Where there is hatred

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# Let me bring your love

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# Where there is injury your pardon, Lord

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# And where there's doubt true faith in you

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# Oh, master grant that I may never seek

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# So much to be consoled as to console

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# To be understood as to understand

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# To be loved as to love with all my soul

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# Make me a channel of your peace

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# Where there's despair in life let me bring hope

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# And where there's darkness only light

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# And where there's sadness ever joy

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# Oh, master grant that I may never seek

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# So much to be consoled as to console

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# To be understood as to understand

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# To be loved as to love with all my soul

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ALL: # Make me a channel of your peace

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# It is in pardoning that we are pardoned

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# In giving to all men that we receive

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# And in dying that we're born to eternal life

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# Eternal life. #

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Joel is 13, and has autism.

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Joel finds it very difficult to communicate and interact

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with the outside world.

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He didn't actually talk until he was five years of age,

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so it was very hard to actually try to get him to speak,

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and to actually see him trying to mix with the other children.

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Accidents and injuries were always a fear for mum Janet.

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I can remember the one time Joel...

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I couldn't hold him when we walked down the road,

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and he just skipped out into the road, and nearly got run over.

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These near-misses led the family to take action.

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This is where Caddie, the specially trained assistance dog

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for disabled people and children with autism,

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was introduced by Dogs for Good.

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He was so excited to be in the house.

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Joel kind of stayed back, and then gradually came forward.

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We asked Joel,

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"Would you like to go outside and throw the ball in the garden?"

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At this point, Joel had never gone out and played in that garden.

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Outside scared him, and inside was his cave, it was safe.

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And I can remember Caddie and Joel going outside, we all did,

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and Joel actually threw that ball, and actually,

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I saw Joel just staring at Caddie.

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Here he was, actually starting to interact,

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and that was within 20 minutes of Caddie coming into our house.

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There's so many milestones that he's reached.

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We can go to church.

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I know that, actually, I can leave Joel now,

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sitting in a chair at church, and Caddie will stay with him.

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I can go and do a prayer, I can do the reading,

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and I can come back and sit down again,

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and he's safe and he's happy, cos Caddie's there.

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-How are we going to get down there? Hold my hand.

-Two, one.

-There we go.

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Yay!

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Before Caddie, Joel didn't actually like the beach.

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We used to have to put a windbreaker round

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so that he couldn't see it, and that's the only way

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he would stay on the beach, and now he's playing on the beach.

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Caddie!

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We can walk down the road, and he's safe,

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and last year, when he came up to me, and he said to me,

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"Mum, I want to get confirmed."

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And I said, "Do you? Are you sure?"

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He wanted to be confirmed, because he wanted Jesus and God

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to be with him to help him, because he found the world so hard,

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and knowing that they were there, it would make it easier,

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just like Caddie's there, making life easier.

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-Amen. And the Lord be with you.

-ALL: And also with you.

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I was confirmed at the Cathedral, and I really liked it.

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-Peace be with you.

-Peace be with you.

-Peace be with you.

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To see him singing, when he never even spoke,

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to see him in prayer, is really important.

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Caddie's a guardian angel, because I believe God made him to help me.

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Help me get here, and basically help me to live.

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Do I believe that Caddie was given to us by God?

0:23:050:23:08

Yeah.

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Because he was made like we are - from God.

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He's here for a purpose, and that purpose is to help us,

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and to actually show to the world that, actually,

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animals are just as important as humans are.

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And Caddie certainly is in our family.

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It's Carers Week, and up and down the country,

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charities are highlighting both the brilliant work they do,

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and the fact that they're growing in numbers.

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It also gives us an opportunity to remember that carers,

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whatever their age, need support, too.

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How are you feeling today, Mum?

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-You look like you're struggling a bit.

-I AM struggling a bit...

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11-year-old Archie has been looking after his mum, Su,

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for the past three years.

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Su has fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain,

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and makes everyday tasks difficult,

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so Archie has to help out.

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-Hello, Archie.

-Hello.

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-You're a bit busier than the average 11-year-old, aren't you?

-Yeah.

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What is it that you actually do for your mum?

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I care for my mum by, like, putting the washing out and, like,

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making dinner, and put the bins out, and make her a cup of tea.

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You are the model son, do you know that?

0:27:120:27:15

THEY CHUCKLE

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-Is that you back from shopping, Arch?

-Yeah.

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-Did you manage to get everything?

-Yeah.

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-If there's any change, you can keep it for being a good boy.

-Thank you.

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What's it like being looked after by your son?

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It's hard.

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You feel terrible, guilty, you feel like it should be you

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that's looking after him, and not the other way around.

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You don't like to tell people, because they look down on you.

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Are your church supportive in any way?

0:27:390:27:41

Our church are absolutely fantastic.

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When I fractured my ankle in January,

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they helped ensure that Archie could continue going to school

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-and that he would have the support he needed.

-Very hands-on.

0:27:480:27:52

Yes, yeah, yep - they're our family. They are our family.

0:27:520:27:55

Oh!

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-When you were a mascot for Pompey.

-Mum, don't start saying I was cute!

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-You WERE cute.

-I was not!

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But it's not all work for Archie.

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What do you like to do, when you get a chance to do

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anything that you love?

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I like playing football, and I'm in a church choir.

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So, football and singing - two things I love!

0:28:130:28:16

Su and Archie also receive help from a Christian children's charity.

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We're able to give him a lot of support through respite

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by having activities run for young carers.

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We also provide a lot of service with school, and making sure

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that if there is an issue at home that impacts Archie at school,

0:28:330:28:38

then they're aware of it fairly soon.

0:28:380:28:41

And are the needs of a child carer different to that of an adult carer?

0:28:410:28:44

I think so, because the children just go into the role

0:28:440:28:48

in a very different way.

0:28:480:28:50

They just accept that it's part of their family,

0:28:500:28:52

and what they are there to do, and want to do.

0:28:520:28:55

-Tea?

-Oh, thank you!

-That would be lovely.

-He's a nice lad!

0:28:550:29:00

It's a nice feeling being able to help my mum out,

0:29:000:29:02

because we get to spend more time together,

0:29:020:29:04

and it brings us closer, I think.

0:29:040:29:08

I'm just astounded by the things he does.

0:29:080:29:11

He's my world. Very blessed.

0:29:110:29:14

Well, that's almost it for today.

0:30:420:30:44

Thanks to the carers we've met,

0:30:440:30:46

and all the other unsung heroes out there.

0:30:460:30:49

Next week, Connie Fisher heads for the holiday resort

0:30:490:30:51

of Magaluf in Majorca to find out how Christian Street Angels

0:30:510:30:55

are helping young Brits abroad.

0:30:550:30:57

Till then, it's our closing hymn.

0:30:570:31:00

Bye for now.

0:31:000:31:01

Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker and his wife Tiggy reveal what it is like to become a carer when your partner has to battle cancer. Plus the soldiers preparing for this year's Trooping the Colour.

Music:

The Summons from St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth You Raise Me Up by Celtic Woman I Vow to Thee My Country from All Saints Church, Cheltenham Make Me a Channel of Your Peace by Tessera Wonderful, Merciful Saviour from St Germain's Church, Birmingham When I Needed a Neighbour Were You There from Romsey Abbey, Romsey Blessed Be the Name of the Lord from City Gates, Ilford.


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