High Hopes Songs of Praise


High Hopes

Shauna Muamba tells Aled Jones how the prayers of so many brought hope when her husband Fabrice suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match in 2012.


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Transcript


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Can you believe it's just over four months

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since the London Olympic and Paralympic Games

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played out so spectacularly on the world stage?

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It seemed like everyone on these isles

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had an extra spring in their step,

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forgot their worries, smiled at one another

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and felt a bit more hopeful about life.

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I wonder what your hopes are for the new year.

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Well, in today's Songs Of Praise, we meet some inspiring people

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who may give you reason to be hopeful in 2013.

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Shauna Muamba hoped thousands of football fans

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would pray for a miracle.

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Johnny Dawson-Ellis suffered tragic consequences

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after a motorbike accident,

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but decided to choose hope over despair.

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Singing our hymns with their hopeful messages,

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we've gathered choirs from across the north-west,

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joined by the Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year.

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The renowned architect behind the Cenotaph,

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Englishman Edwin Lutyens, certainly had hopeful aspirations

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when he built his crypt in Liverpool in the 1930s.

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It was intended to form part of the largest cathedral in the world,

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but the Second World War forced the abandonment

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of the huge building above.

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That wasn't the end of hope or the project,

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and today's shining example, designed by Sir Frederick Gibberd,

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sits proudly on the Liverpool skyline.

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Our first hymn, like all our hymns today,

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reflects that amazing quality human beings can hold onto,

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even when the going gets tough -

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hope.

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# Morning has broken

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When Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered

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a catastrophic cardiac arrest during a match last March,

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thousands of shocked fans feared the worst,

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but one person never gave up hope -

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his wife Shauna.

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Take me back to the day Fabrice collapsed.

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What were you doing?

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Sat right here, watching on the telly.

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There was no-one around him, no-one pushed him

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or it wasn't a bad tackle. He literally just fell.

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I knew it was serious just based on the reactions,

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the silence and the chanting of his name from both sides.

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I knew it was serious.

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They had no idea if he was alive or dead either.

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What did the doctors tell you in the hospital?

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They told me that if I was lucky,

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Fabrice would be severely brain damaged,

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or based on the time he didn't get oxygen,

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he would probably be in a vegetative state,

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so basically just a shell, existing on life support.

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How did you feel about that?

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I felt grateful that he was alive, so it was something to work with.

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You used social media when it happened, didn't you?

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I think my first tweet was, "God is in control."

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That's how I felt in that moment,

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that's why I said that, kind of thing.

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I'm glad I did that now, you know, because that helped me, you know?

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God was in control and that gave me my strength,

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knowing that something way bigger than me was watching over Fab.

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Sometimes in moments like that, you kind of think,

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"Oh, my God, it's hopeless, why me, why?" And for me,

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it wasn't a case of, "Why me?" or, "Woe is me,"

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it's kind of, "Thank you, God, for keeping him alive."

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Do you think prayer made a difference?

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I totally believe that prayer made a difference.

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Not only me praying for him as his partner,

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but the way the world collectively prayed for him.

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It's like the nation took us into their homes

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and into their hearts, and they really didn't have to.

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In that moment, it didn't matter who we were or where we came from

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or anything like that.

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It was just a collective moment where everybody just prayed for us.

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If it wasn't for people out there praying for him,

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caring about him collectively, I don't think...

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Maybe he wouldn't have pulled through the way he did, you know?

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Messages of support poured in from across the world,

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and Fabrice left hospital just a month later

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after making a miraculous recovery.

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How difficult was it for you to remain hopeful?

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You know, where there's life, there is hope,

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and I think you always have to have faith, you know?

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They say faith can move mountains as well,

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and I prayed for God to keep Fabrice alive.

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He did that for me.

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He made sure he woke up. He made sure he's fine.

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Beside a bit of short-term memory loss, Fabrice is fine,

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so I got more than I prayed for.

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Normally, the only singing you associate with a football club

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is the chanting coming from the terraces.

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Manchester United, one of the most famous football clubs in the world,

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is getting noticed by local teenagers

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for something other than football - its foundation choir.

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But this choir, made up of a real mix of voices and backgrounds,

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is putting hope and faith back into young lives.

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# 5, 6, 7, 8

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# 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... #

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I guess because music and sports are so different,

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it's nice to be able to actually get a different group of people.

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For instance, we have quite a large group of lads that come,

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and I think, in most choirs,

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it's quite hard to get a lot of guys to join,

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because it's not a cool thing, really.

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You know, it's not something that most guys can go to school,

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"Oh, yeah, I'm in a choir."

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But when it is part of one of the best football teams in the world,

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I mean, to be able to say that you're in a choir for Manchester United,

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it does reach out to a new...

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to a lot more people.

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It's actually really amazing to be here and singing,

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because it's always been a dream of mine,

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and just to fulfil that dream

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is just really amazing, actually.

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A lot of people would be out doing things probably they shouldn't.

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A lot of people spend time in parks and things like that,

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and I know the choir gives children the opportunity

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to come here and socialise, meet new people,

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make really good bonds with people,

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and it gets them off the streets and gives them something to do.

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At times, I do feel like there's someone guiding me there,

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like God, cos I'm a Christian and I pray to God.

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So, yeah, I think there is a guiding angel there for me.

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The choir supported me at a time of my life

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when I was losing a lot of hope in everything.

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I was going downhill with college.

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I'd left home, I was getting quite depressed.

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The choir's brought me through and helped me,

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and now I'm studying music at university,

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and that probably wouldn't have been achievable

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without the choir's support.

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It's exactly the same as being a footballer

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or being a sportsperson. Do you know,

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it's about working in a team

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and it's about turning up, working hard.

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# I'm bullet-proof, nothing to lose

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# Fire away, fire away... #

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Not all choirs do sing things in the charts

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and you wouldn't really expect it,

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but it's all songs that are uplifting songs,

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that are feel-good and songs that are relevant today

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and that everybody enjoys singing as well,

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and then at the end of it, when we've worked hard,

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we actually get to do these absolutely amazing things

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which really are worth all the hard work.

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The choir gave a performance

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at our School Choir Of The Year competition,

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and though they weren't being judged as part of the competition,

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they certainly wowed the audience.

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# I'll sing it one last time for you

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# Then we really have to go

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# You've been the only thing that's right

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# In all I've done

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# And I can barely look at you

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# But every single time I do

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# I know we'll make it anyway

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# Away from here

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# Light up, light up

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# As if you have a choice

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# Even if you cannot hear my voice

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# I'll be right beside you, dear

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# Louder, louder

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# And we'll run for our lives

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# I can hardly speak, I understand

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# Why you can't raise your voice to say

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# To think I might not see those eyes

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# It makes it so hard not to cry

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# And as we say our long goodbyes

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# I nearly do

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# Light up, light up

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# As if you have a choice

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# Even if you cannot hear my voice

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# I'll be right beside you, dear

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# Louder, louder

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# And we'll run for our lives

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# I can hardly speak, I understand

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# Why you can't raise your voice to say

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# Louder, louder

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# And we'll run for our lives

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# I can hardly speak, I understand

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# Why you can't raise your voice to say

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# Oooh. #

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Johnny Dawson-Ellis was just 29 years old

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when a routine journey home from work tragically changed his life.

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But when he chose hope over despair,

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he found himself in one of the greatest shows on earth.

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It was on the way home from work that, on a motorbike,

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I lost control on the road,

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slid along the floor and broke my back.

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I remember being left in a room on my own and, you know,

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the realisation of the fact that I would never walk again.

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There in that hospital, did you ever run out of hope,

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or think to yourself,

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"Now I'm in a hopeless state," if you like?

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Yeah. You sort of feel very vulnerable,

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and being such an independent person prior to the accident

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and then in hospital not being able to do anything

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and having everyone have to work around you and help you is...

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..you feel hopeless.

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I remember thinking that there's two paths.

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I could either stay positive and make the most of it,

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or I could close up on myself and become upset about it.

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When I came to that crossroads,

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I searched inside myself and asked for help,

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and I seemed to get that help

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that actually pushed me in the right direction.

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Do you think faith has helped you with your recovery?

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Erm...yes, yeah, because it put me on the right track.

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If I hadn't had that faith, then...

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you know, I don't know what would have happened.

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It seems that since the accident, your life has changed completely.

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What part did you play in the Paralympic Opening Ceremony?

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In the Paralympic Opening Ceremony,

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I was part of a group of wonderful people.

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We were all disabled in one way or another,

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and it was so inspiring.

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Everyone pushed each other on.

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I was swung on ropes with nothing holding me.

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I had to climb a four and a half metre carbon rod,

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strap myself in at the top and then sway.

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It probably was the best experience I've ever had in my life, you know?

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You were told by the consultant that you'd never walk again,

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and you're even having a go at that now.

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Yeah, I've managed to become part of a process

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of using robotic legs,

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which is just phenomenal.

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Firstly, you feel physically better, because obviously,

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being in a chair the whole time, you're not moving your legs

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and I get a lot of pain in the legs, but whilst you're walking,

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you don't feel as much pain, and also you just feel healthier.

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And mentally, being able to talk to people on the same level,

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being able to walk across a room, it's almost unexplainable.

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Everyone in a wheelchair, I have hope for their future.

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You know, there's so many things going with technology and science,

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and these legs are really...

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you know, they're just the start.

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You think back to when we had mobile phones, they were huge,

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but now they're nothing and they're so light,

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and it's the same thing with the legs.

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You know, they're going to go in that direction.

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I'm looking forward to the future.

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I have so much hope for the future, for me and everyone else.

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When Philippa Hanna was going through

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her troublesome teenage years,

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little did she realise that one day

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she'd be sharing the same stage with superstar Lionel Richie.

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Finding myself on tour with Lionel Richie

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was an incredible blessing, so I can't help but be grateful

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and thank God for the opportunity.

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It just seemed as soon as I hit 13, I just became really insecure,

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and you go to big school and you've got suddenly

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this sea of people and you don't know where you fit in in that crowd,

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and for me, I did lots of things to compromise myself, really.

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So after leaving school without many qualifications,

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I was a little bit lost, and around that time

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I met some Christians, and I noticed that they had something

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that I didn't have, which was this enthusiasm for life,

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hope for the future and a peace about them,

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and I was kind of really jealous, cos I just wanted to feel like that.

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# For he is higher

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# Than all the world could ever offer... #

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And that's kind of what led to me asking God into my life,

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because I just wanted to be like them.

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So for me, it became a little place of, for me, personal worship,

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just playing and singing, but then it led to me

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writing all these new songs.

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# I'm going to stay just the way God made me... #

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This recent song, I was just thinking about what it feels like to be lost,

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and I had this picture in mind of being out at sea in the night-time,

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when you don't know where home is, you don't know where the shore is,

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but a lighthouse is what shows you the way.

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So I thought, for me, that's what God's like.

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Cos even now, I don't know what tomorrow holds,

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I don't know what next year holds or the year after,

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but I really know that there's hope,

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and as long as I've got my eye on that light, I'll be all right.

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# So I send a signal flare into the sky

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# You see me there and shine your light

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# Cos you, you are a lighthouse

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# My hope in the blackout

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# I don't know how you found me

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# But you, you are the lighthouse

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# And you send the stars out

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# When darkness falls around me

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# And I feel not good enough

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# But you light me up

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# Yeah, I feel not good enough

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# But you light me up

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# I see the flicker and my heart awakens

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# Like the beating of a drum

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# Out in the distance, on the horizon

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# Like the rising midnight sun

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# And you paint the night the colour of dawn

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# And I know I'll make it home

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# I'll be safe and sound upon the sand

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# With a washed-up diamond in my hand

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# Cos you, you are a lighthouse

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# My hope in the blackout

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# I don't know how you found me

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# But you, you are the lighthouse

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# And you send the stars out

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# When darkness falls around me

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# And I feel not good enough

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# But you light me up

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# Yeah, I feel not good enough

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# But you light me up. #

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'Lord, since we know not what lies ahead of us in life's journey,

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'guide our future steps in the way of your will.'

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'For in fulfilling your plan for our lives,

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'we shall be doing what is best for us and most for your glory.'

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That's just about it for this first Songs Of Praise of 2013.

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I hope we've instilled in you a little bit of inspiration

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and optimism as we head into the new year.

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We end with a beautiful hymn of hope to carry you on your way.

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Now, just before we go, I know Christmas is officially over,

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but whilst it's still fresh in your minds,

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we'd like to hear from you about your favourite carol.

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In fact, we're running a vote,

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and the favourites will feature on this year's Christmas Big Sing.

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Now, the only way to vote is via our website. That's...

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So if you want to hear your favourite carol

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sung in the Royal Albert Hall, get voting now.

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We'll be running a similar vote for your favourite hymns very soon,

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so watch this space.

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Next week, David explores the past, present and future

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of the Church in Stoke-on-Trent,

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and introduces modern and traditional hymns

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from Longton Methodist Central Hall.

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Plus performances by Kristyna Myles

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and Stuart Pendred.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Shauna Muamba tells Aled Jones how the prayers of so many brought hope out of despair when her husband Fabrice, the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder, suffered a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup match in 2012. Plus hymns and songs from Liverpool's Hope Street, the Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year and Philippa Hanna.


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