Manchester Attack Songs of Praise


Manchester Attack

In the aftermath of the terror attack in Manchester, Aled Jones discovers how the city is pulling together and the role that faith is playing in the recovery.


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Transcript


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Manchester - shocked to the core by a bomb attack

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which killed indiscriminately and senselessly.

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Yet the city has emerged defiant and united.

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Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes...

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For this week's Songs Of Praise,

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I'm in this great northern city to reflect on events

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as the people who live here and all of us come to terms

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with what's happened.

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We talk to the paramedics who were first on the scene.

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I've been to lots of traumatic incidents,

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but nothing on the scale of this.

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It wasn't until I got home and just sat down and...

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and I just burst into tears.

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One of the victims' friends pays tribute to him.

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He saw the good in everyone and he will never be... never be forgotten.

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And faith leaders unite against the terrorists.

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They shouldn't say God is on their side.

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They should be on God's side.

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And on God's side is love, mercy, justice.

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Choose love, Manchester. Thank you.

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When we hear shocking news on a national scale,

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all of us struggle with what to say or do.

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And it's at times like these that many of us turn to the church

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for reassurance and comfort.

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And the familiar words of our first hymn,

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recorded here at Manchester Cathedral, reflect just that.

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SIRENS WAIL

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The shock and the trauma that hit Manchester and us all

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has been raw and visceral.

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I just want to be here today to just say for the families,

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we are praying for you. We will continue to pray.

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I became very emotional.

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Even in my heart I feel this shivering

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because it's what's happened to the innocent people.

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They are children. I'm a mother.

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I'm a grandmother as well.

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And what's happened to these innocent people,

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it's happened to me. I can feel it.

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But amidst the grief and the pain,

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there's been something else - defiance.

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There's hard times again, in these streets of our city

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But we won't take defeat and we don't want your pity

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Because this is the place where we stand strong together

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With a smile on our face,

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Mancunians forever.

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We made a babygro for today saying that hate won't tear us apart.

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Even though there are some bad people in the world, there's,

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you know... 99% of us are really good people and that's what matters.

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I had to be here.

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Because it was such a gathering of people of not necessarily

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only my Christian faith but of all faiths.

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Faith is all these people around, isn't it? Faith is there.

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It's in your heart.

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God is all around us.

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As the days have passed and in the midst of fear,

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suffering and grief, Mancunians have pulled together.

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People have shared their homes,

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offered lifts and even queued up to give blood following the attack.

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There's a real sense of a community coming together.

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Please, any drinks, anything.

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It's all free.

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Please help yourself.

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I was in Manchester in my taxi.

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People didn't have any money.

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People didn't have any form of transport to get to the hospitals.

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So I picked the first one up.

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Said "I've got no money." I said, "Doesn't matter."

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And that's what I was doing all night.

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Manchester Cathedral, a short distance from the site

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of the bomb blast, was closed for two days.

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So the city's clergy went out onto the streets instead.

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I have a book of condolence here

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that we put out on the street for

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people to sign at our midday prayers

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and there's a very lovely message here.

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"Pray that we all might be active peacemakers

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"to overcome all that disrupts and destroys community."

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On Thursday morning, the Cathedral reopened its doors.

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Once again, it's become a sanctuary

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of prayer and reflection for everyone.

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I met two of the city's faith leaders inside the cathedral.

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I think although there's a lot of grief,

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a lot of distress, a lot of anger,

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that's being channelled

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in very positive ways, and people are hugging each other,

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they're holding hands, they're lighting candles.

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They're coming out into the city and affirming that this is our city

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and no terrorist is going to take it away from us.

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There is absolutely nothing in our traditions, at all,

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categorically, that can justify, allow

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or even encourage, you know, the actions of these people.

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We are peace-loving people, we are men of God together in unison

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and we're not going to be deterred by this, this menace.

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Both of you, now -

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do you know a message for the Christian community here?

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Do you have a message for the Muslim community here?

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I think my message for my Christian brothers and sisters

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is a message of peace and hope and prayer.

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Standing here in this great cathedral,

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we can never allow extremists,

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wherever they're from, wherever they come from, to allow this beautiful

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tradition of ours of love and harmony to be thwarted and divided.

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My message to the Muslim community

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would be simply that you are Manchester

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just as we are Manchester.

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You are as much a part of Manchester this week

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as you were last week.

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You're as much a part of the solution to the problems

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of our present generation as you were last week

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and nothing will come between us and prevent us working together

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to be the way forward for Manchester and beyond

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and I do believe that together, we can in Manchester set a beacon,

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a standard that others can follow.

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It's been a real pleasure spending time with both of you.

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-Thank you so much.

-Thank you.

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-Thank you very much.

-God bless you.

-Thank you.

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APPLAUSE

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BIG BEN CHIMES 11

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On Thursday, the nation came to a standstill

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for a minute's silence to remember the victims of the attack.

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-# So Sally can wait... #

-Come on, sing up!

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# She knows it's too late... #

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Then, in Manchester, the local crowd broke into a famous song

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synonymous with the city, Don't Look Back In Anger by the band Oasis.

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# "Don't look back in anger", I heard you say. #

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APPLAUSE

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The people who have been hit hardest by the tragedy are the family

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and friends of the injured and of those who died.

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One of the victims was 29-year-old Martyn Hett

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and one of his many friends talked to me about him.

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How will you remember your friend Martyn?

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The laugh and the smile.

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He lived life every day so nothing ever got him down.

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From what I can understand,

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he went to the bar where he'd met some girls that night,

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some friends that he had literally made that night

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and was talking to them.

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Knowing that that was where he was,

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what he was doing at that time was so Martyn that not only did he...

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was at a place where he loved, he...

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died doing the thing he loved, which was making people smile and happy.

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There's a gap there now.

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Someone who was so happy... that's missing.

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His partner tweeted saying that he left life as he lived it,

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the centre of attention.

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-Yeah.

-It's a good quote.

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There's no better quote than that for Martin, I think,

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and I think it's been capped by Mariah Carey, his lifelong hero,

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has posted on Instagram

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about learning about the death of Martyn today.

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I think Mariah Carey actually wrote

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that she'll cherish his memory.

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Yeah! All he ever wanted was to meet her,

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to talk to her and have a conversation

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but he might not have ever got that far

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but today, wherever he is,

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he'll know that she Instagrammed about him and that took off

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and he will love that.

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Do you think Martyn's in a better place? Where do you think he is now?

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I'd like to think he was looking down on us

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and can still have an impact.

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There's so much of him

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around, even on the internet, that he'll never be gone.

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Do you think he'll have a legacy?

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His legacy will be one of...

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of happiness and he saw the good in everyone.

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He will never be... never be forgotten, Martyn.

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He was loved too much to be forgotten.

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# When peace like a river

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# Attendeth my way

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# When sorrow like sea billows roll

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# Whatever my lot

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# Thou hast taught me to say

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# It is well, it is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well, it is well

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# With my soul

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# Though Satan should buffet

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# Though trials should come my way

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# Let this blest assurance control

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# That Christ has regarded

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# My helpless estate

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# And hath shed His own blood

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# For my soul

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# It is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well, it is well

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# With my soul

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# And Lord, haste the day

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# When the faith shall be sight

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# The clouds be rolled back as a scroll

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# The trumpets shall sound

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# And the Lord shall descend

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# Even so, it is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well

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# It is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well. #

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During the week, Her Majesty the Queen visited

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those who were injured in the Manchester attack.

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And you HAD enjoyed the concert, presumably?

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-Yeah, it was really good.

-Was it?

-Yeah.

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She was full of praise for the emergency services.

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Amongst the first to arrive on the scene of the attack

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were paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service.

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That night I was on a rapid response vehicle,

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just dealing with normal emergency calls,

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and then a call came through - I'd been diverted off a chest pain,

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a young male chest pain.

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It came in on the screen, looked at the screen and it said,

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"Bomb explosion at MEN."

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So right away my heart sank,

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because I knew it was going to be possibly genuine,

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with mass casualties. Walking up to the scene,

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I just looked to the side

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and there were just people lined up along the wall,

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just like, hundreds of people, and, erm...

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and I could see the shock on their faces.

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And I looked and I thought

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they were probably looking at us,

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like, six people walking in, thinking,

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"What the hell are THEY going to do in there?

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"There's so many casualties, there's so many people -

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"how are they going to deal with them?"

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Which is what my initial thoughts were as well.

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Because of the magnitude of the whole situation

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and the amount of casualties,

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it was just like,

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patient after patient after patient -

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we were just doing the best we could for them,

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to treat them and then

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obviously get them to hospital as quickly as possible.

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When you look back, there's certain children who I treated

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who will stay in my mind,

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and hopefully they're recovering well now. As well as adults -

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there's adults who I was talking to for a while

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while waiting for ambulances and resources to come and help,

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like, me and Ian treated a lady,

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one of the first ones we treated together,

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and extremely poorly but

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hopefully she's making a good recovery now.

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But I don't think these images will ever leave us.

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Afterwards, when everything had gone a lot calmer, yes,

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mobile phones, it was apparent - I could see them, I could hear them

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going off. Which was

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something quite difficult to take in. Erm...

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Cos it's people, loved ones,

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checking that their friends and family are safe.

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And being in that situation,

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it's harrowing, having to be surrounded by that.

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Whilst you're actually working and dealing with casualties,

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you kind of just crack on with it, you just deal with them

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and you don't think of anything else,

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you just do what you're trained to do.

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But driving back home after that night, I was thinking to myself,

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"What the hell have we just witnessed,

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"what have we just dealt with?"

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The way I've dealt with it is...

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I don't think I have, if I'm being totally honest.

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To have adults losing lives, it's tragic -

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to have children losing their lives, it's something which I don't think,

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-you know...

-It's another level, isn't it?

-..you can comprehend that

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till you've actually dealt with situations like that.

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The patients themselves were very, very brave,

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and helping each other.

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I've been to lots of

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traumatic incidents, but nothing on the scale of this.

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It wasn't until I got home and just sat down and...

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You're aware of the impact

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on the city, on your friends, on the families...

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And I just burst into tears.

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I think you draw strength from a combination of places,

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certainly...

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Working as part of a team,

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and a very close-knit team we are,

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really gives you strength to carry on,

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to support each other and talk things through.

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Knowing that you have family at home and friends to talk to

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and support you as well

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is important. And it's something to be very thankful for.

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I think faith does come into it as well -

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whether you are religious or not,

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saying a quick prayer to whoever's listening, erm...

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..can give you some form of rest, I think.

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The people that were there at the scene initially

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to respond to the incident

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were chosen for a reason to go in there

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and to deal with the casualties.

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Erm, and...

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..I'm glad we did get to go in

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and to help these people.

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And I hope we did make a difference at the end of the day.

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Earlier this week, Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York,

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was here in Manchester to join the city's vigil.

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He's been reflecting on what happened, with Pam Rhodes.

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What can you possibly say to people whose lives, whose bodies,

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whose peace of mind have been shattered by this event?

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I think I want to weep,

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and tell them it's all right to weep.

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And it's all right for them to lament,

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it's all right for them to find comfort in others,

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people can hold them -

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because sometimes holding people very close at hand

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is a very, very great, powerful way of helping.

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And I don't think I want glib words.

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Because the trauma is so strong, the loss is so great.

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So is it then up to people of faith - indeed of ALL faiths -

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to work together to fight back, to prevent things like this happening?

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This was quite evident at that vigil.

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I was sitting next to the Imam of Manchester,

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who is determined that they're going to use

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their mosques to be places of saying

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love is stronger than hate.

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Life is stronger than death.

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So the message has gone out, and I'm sure, by working together,

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we're going to find a common ground of really tackling this terrible,

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terrible evil. These heinous crimes,

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people thinking they're doing it in the name of God.

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I'm sorry - they shouldn't say God is on their side,

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they should be on GOD'S side.

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And on God's side is love, mercy,

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justice, and newness of life. And they're taking away life.

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You were at that vigil, it was obviously very moving.

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How do you reflect on it?

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I think when one woman in the crowd, before the vigil started, said,

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"We thank God for the security services,

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"all the professions and everybody," and everybody cheered -

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and when you looked around,

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the majority were young people.

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They came there not to be intimidated,

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not to be frightened,

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and my message, all of them, was "Do not be afraid."

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So the enduring memory -

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here was a group of people saying,

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"We will not be frightened, we will not hate each other."

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That message of choosing love over hate

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-isn't just for Manchester, it's for the whole world, surely.

-Yes.

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But human nature being what it is,

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can we really hope that that will ever be ours?

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Erm... If you don't mind, I'm a person of visual aids,

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I'm going to show you one.

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You see,

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on Good Friday, everything was very, very tragic.

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It was like a piece of embroidery.

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It all looks tangled.

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That Good Friday, when Jesus hung on the cross, everything wasn't clear.

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But, you know, God was writing

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an amazing story.

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"God is love."

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So in the midst of chaos

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and confusion and death,

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and brutality -

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out of it, good is going to come.

0:27:590:28:02

It seems that atrocities like this can bring out the best in us,

0:28:020:28:06

so we need to make sure

0:28:060:28:07

that positive things

0:28:070:28:09

can come out of the choices we make now.

0:28:090:28:12

Absolutely positive. Because we're so fearfully and wonderfully made.

0:28:120:28:15

All of us have gifts, all of us have

0:28:150:28:18

a wonderful way

0:28:180:28:19

of relating to one another.

0:28:190:28:21

This is a time

0:28:210:28:23

when creed,

0:28:230:28:24

belief or no belief, culture,

0:28:240:28:26

tradition, need to be buried.

0:28:260:28:29

That what emerges are people

0:28:290:28:31

who really are at ease with each other.

0:28:310:28:34

One of the themes that's resonated through this week is

0:31:110:31:13

don't choose hate - choose love,

0:31:130:31:16

something that's echoed in our last piece of music.

0:31:160:31:19

From the great city of Manchester, goodbye.

0:31:190:31:22

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