Milton Keynes Songs of Praise


Milton Keynes

Sean Fletcher visits Milton Keynes as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, and he has a kick-about with freestyle footballer Daniel Cutting.


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Transcript


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This week I'm in Milton Keynes celebrating the 50th anniversary

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of Britain's most famous new town, which is also home

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to a Christian community with a pioneering past.

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Welcome to Songs Of Praise.

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On today's programme I'll be meeting the Christians at the heart

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of the development of Milton Keynes.

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Reverend Kate Bottley visits a Christian project which is restoring

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broken bicycles whilst turning around young lives.

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-Do you know what I think the best bit of the bike is, Ben?

-Which one?

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HORN

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And I have a kickabout with a local freestyle footballer

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whose faith has inspired him to break a staggering

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five world records.

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As a Christian, I really believe that this was my God-given gift,

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and it was something that he wanted me to do.

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Founded in 1967, Milton Keynes was built to ease the pressure

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of London's chronic housing shortage.

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Created from Buckinghamshire farmland and surrounding villages,

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this place has had a lot to celebrate over its past

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five decades, being the proud home of the Aston Martin,

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with some cars taking two years to make.

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And it's the base of the legendary Marshall amplifier company.

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Milton Keynes has also forged a close-knit Christian community,

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and our first hymn comes from the Church of Christ the Cornerstone,

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led by the multi-award-winning songwriter and music producer

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Noel Robinson and his band.

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APPLAUSE

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Created 50 years ago in 1967, Milton Keynes has a track record

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for innovation, being first in the country

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to trial driverless vehicles.

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When it was built, Centre: MK was the largest indoor shopping mall

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in Europe - fitting for a place that from the very beginning

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set its sights on a pioneering future.

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New job, new home, new life in Milton Keynes.

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Residents were served by a network of historic churches,

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but in the following years, Milton Keynes would seek to develop

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new ways of serving its Christian community.

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When Milton Keynes was a twinkle in the planner's eye,

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the Anglicans, the Baptists, the Methodists,

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the Roman Catholics and the United Reformed Church,

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they came to the decision that they would build churches together.

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That's incredibly forward-thinking.

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We've got Roman Catholics and Protestants coming together,

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where in other parts of the country that certainly wasn't happening.

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Well, I think that there was a great excitement,

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a new excitement about this ecumenical movement.

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It was a great adventure for everybody here,

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and people felt that they were just on the cusp of building

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something really new and being able to contribute as Christians together

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into the building of a new city.

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Milton Keynes' ecumenical movement needed a focal point.

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Work began to build a space in the town centre where everyone could

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worship together. The result was the Church of Christ the Cornerstone.

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Officially opened in 1992, it became the UK's first purpose-built

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ecumenical church, serving five denominations under one roof.

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That same year, Her Majesty the Queen attended a special

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dedication ceremony to celebrate and bless this new building.

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Cheryl Montgomery was in the choir on the big day.

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The morning, we were all inside the church already

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for the Queen to arrive.

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And it was such a big occasion for Milton Keynes.

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So the heads of the churches were there, and it was just like saying,

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"Right, Milton Keynes, you are really important today."

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And the first notes of the music started.

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That was it, and off we went.

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That's my daughter...

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..and that's me.

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It was really a special occasion.

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For the last 50 years, 25 years,

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you are absolutely welcome.

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A quarter of a century later,

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and Cheryl is still singing with the Cornerstone Choir.

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We were always looking ahead

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and looking forward to being in a special place to be that

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special group of people who promised to work together.

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# Brother, sister Let me serve you... #

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Look at this.

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Freestyle football takes years of practice

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and has become a global phenomenon.

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-Really impressive.

-Thanks, man.

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Christian Daniel Cutting is one of the world's leading experts,

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and hails from right here in Milton Keynes.

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How long have you been doing freestyling for?

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-It's been my full-time job for about eight years...

-Yeah.

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..and I've been practising for probably nearer to 20 years.

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-So since you were a little kid?

-Yeah.

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You have must have some records.

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I have got a couple of world records, yeah.

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Various different freestyle skills that you can do.

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Once I'd learned to kind of juggle the ball and do all the easy stuff,

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-the stuff you learnt when you were young...

-I didn't even learn that!

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-..I learned to kind of balance the ball on my head like this.

-Yeah.

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And then once I'd learnt to get it there, I learnt to tilt

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-my head to the side and balance it in my temple.

-Yeah.

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And then you roll it over and catch it. Roll it back.

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And basically over and back counts as a face roll,

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and I did 1,810 in a row.

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Wow, your neck must have been really aching after that!

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I didn't have anything to do for a spare hour that day,

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so I thought, why not go for it?

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At what stage do you get to that and think,

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"I'm just going to roll the ball on the top of my head"?

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No, it's really hard.

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Even balancing it there is difficult enough,

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and then it's that balance and trying to get it there, but then

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for ages I was up to here again, and then back to this side and then up.

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But it's trying to make it smooth, and make it look flawless.

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-Like rolling it around your head.

-That's really impressive.

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Daniel holds a total of five world records,

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but didn't consider becoming a professional freestyler

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until he graduated in sport and PE from university,

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choosing a career in football over teaching.

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I just decided... Even from a young age

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I knew I had this gift and this ability to play football,

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and that wasn't even the tricks and skills.

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As a Christian, you know, I really believe

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that this was my God-given gift,

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and it was something that he wanted me to do.

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I can't say I ever had the voice of God saying,

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"Daniel, you will be a freestyler,"

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but I just had that sense in my spirit,

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and when I prayed through it with Mum and Dad and other friends

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and family, I just thought, you know, I'd be silly not to try this

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and to really go for something that I'm so passionate about.

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You've been a body double, as well, haven't you,

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for some famous footballers?

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I've done loads of body doubling over the years.

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It's always good to be in the adverts. My mum would prefer

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that my face was in them - she always says that.

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If you've got to body double for the pros and make them look good,

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I'm happy to do it. Even David Beckham, I've done things where it

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looks like he's doing the trick with

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-his feet, but it's actually me doing it.

-That's incredible.

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David Beckham must have amazing skills, but yours are even better?

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Yeah, I am better than David Beckham at football skills, yeah, for sure.

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He's very good at football, obviously, but I'm better at skills.

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CHEERING

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Daniel now has one million followers on social media

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and travels the world showcasing his extraordinary talents.

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So I think people always think of God-given skills

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and abilities as the gift of leadership,

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or the gift of discernment, or the gift of encouragement.

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But God has given us so many different gifts, you know,

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physical gifts that you can actually use.

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He's given you the gift of tricks of football.

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-He's given me the gift of freestyle.

-Not me.

-Well, you're OK.

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You weren't too bad.

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-Yes!

-Ooh!

-Wow.

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Maybe a few more years' practice.

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But that's the amazing thing, isn't it?

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He's given me this gift and ability, and I really believe that.

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But it was still, you know, hours and hours of practice every day.

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Just because I had that God-given ability and skill,

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it didn't mean that I just woke up one day and went,

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"Whoa! Mum, look what I can do! I went to bed, woke up

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"and the ball was spinning on my finger."

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It was the hours of practice and the discipline, the perseverance

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which God's given me in order to actually get to this level.

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# Everybody do the...

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# Oh, yeah

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# Oh, yeah

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# Everybody say...

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# Everybody say...

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# Oh, yeah... #

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Shout freedom!

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-ALL:

-Freedom!

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# Say...

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# Everybody say

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# Everybody say... #

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Freedom, yeah!

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Milton Keynes may be a relatively young town,

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but its Christian origins date back centuries.

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The Reverend John Newton moved to the village of Olney

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in what is now the borough of Milton Keynes in 1746.

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The religious writings of the former slave trader-turned-abolitionist

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would become world-famous,

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seeing his words turned into the lyrics of many loved hymns,

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including, of course, Amazing Grace.

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# Amazing Grace... #

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Noel Robinson is not your ordinary worship leader.

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Launching his studio recording career back in 1996,

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Noel has managed successfully to work in both the Christian

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and secular music worlds. And as well as winning awards,

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he's also toured with the likes of Gloria Gaynor and Chaka Khan.

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# Outrageous love You poor outrageous love on me... #

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So tell me about your love of music. Tell me about your inspirations.

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My dad, he loved music. He played guitar.

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And my mum played piano but she died when I was five.

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It would be me and my dad in the room,

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and he'd be playing his guitar, so I'd sit there watching him,

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and, you know, I think it was the thing that kept me quiet.

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And I'm just interested in how you write songs.

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I'm quite spontaneous, so it's quite possible for me to sit here

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and just create a song in a few seconds, in a few minutes.

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You know, I can do something...

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# Here I am, sitting down with you... #

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Can we call this Kate's Song?

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# Kate's song, singing

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# Kate's song, singing

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# Great songs With Kate

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# Songs... #

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-KATE LAUGHS

-You know?

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# Freedom, yes... #

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Noel has been nominated four times for Mobo awards,

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and has worked with giants of the music industry.

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But his Christian faith led him

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to question pursuing a mainstream career.

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You had some pretty tough choices to make, didn't you,

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about what to chase after? Because you're really good...

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..and it could have been a whole different story for you.

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Very early on I recognised something that God was doing to me, and

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it was the choice to chase the music or the choice to chase the calling.

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You know, the Scripture in Romans 11, that says the gift and the call

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of God are without repentance, there's two things at stake here.

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If I chase the music, what I'm doing technically is chasing

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a dream of just playing with no content, often times.

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But if I chase the calling, it doesn't stop me from playing,

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but actually I find the content to play.

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And it's this content that shapes people.

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Music is beautiful in itself,

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it's the most amazing gift that God ever gave us.

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I say to people, there's only two gifts that came out of Heaven,

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and that's Jesus and music.

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-Any regrets?

-No.

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I've not lost out in playing in venues.

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I've not lost out in meeting amazing people in the Christian world.

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I've played for some of the major Christian artists

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around the world, you know?

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I've got to know them as friends and toured the world,

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all because I followed my call.

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And I'm still doing it.

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If I can give hope to someone who's lost hope and get them to believe

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once again, even in themselves, then I feel that I'm achieving.

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The gift is measured by how good you are, how many hours

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you put to practise.

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But the call is discovered and you walk it by faith.

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That is the most exciting thing, wow, to walk my faith.

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With 170 miles of cycle lanes,

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Milton Keynes is certainly bike-friendly.

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This is my first time riding a bike since I was 15 years old,

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and a local Christian initiative is trying to persuade people like me

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to ditch four wheels in favour of two.

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Here we go... Whoa!

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Cycle Saviours is a church-backed project breathing new life

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into neglected bikes.

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It rose out of the fact that we recognise that about a million bikes

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were being thrown out nationally a year, and cycling is a really

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healthy thing, so we thought it would be really great.

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And where does faith fit into this?

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For me, this is part of expressing what I believe is God's concern

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for our communities and neighbourhoods,

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and it's really nice to be able to show

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that we're concerned about a whole range of things.

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Would you like this?

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-VOICEOVER:

-Locals donate their old bikes...

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Look at that, look at that!

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..so they can be put to good use.

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-This has got cobwebs on the back wheel.

-They're free.

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You don't have to charge for those. Or the bell.

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-How long has that been in your shed?

-Two years.

-Two years?

-Yes.

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But there's more to this Christian initiative than just getting

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old bikes back on the road.

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This workshop is staffed by young trainees.

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Ben's 19 years old and struggled at school,

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but since coming here he's been able to develop his practical skills.

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What's the best thing about working here?

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It makes me happy and talk to people.

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And, yeah, have fun.

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And then just test the gears and brakes to see if it's all fine.

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Jack is 15 and admits to having behavioural issues.

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He's released from school to visit the project twice a week.

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What do you think it would have been like if you hadn't been able to come

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here two days a week and you'd had to stay in school full-time?

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I'd probably be kicked out right now.

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-So this has sort of saved you, hasn't it?

-Yeah.

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It's helped me a lot.

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-You've saved the bikes, and the bikes have saved you.

-Yeah.

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-Do you know what I think the best bit of the bike is, Ben?

-Which one?

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This bit.

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HORN

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I like that bit!

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Cycle Saviours also maintain bikes for community groups

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like BucksVision. The charity for the visually impaired helped Elaine

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after she lost much of her sight five years ago.

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The day that I had to sell my bike,

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I'll admit I was actually in tears, cos it was like...

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I felt that my legs had been cut off

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because I couldn't get out there and enjoy the outdoors.

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But with the help of Cycle Saviours

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and co-rider Marcel, Elaine's back on the road doing what she loves.

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The first time I got on a tandem, it almost felt like I'd got

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something back that I'd lost, because I could hear the birds,

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I could hear, you know, the wind and everything.

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And for me it was like being back in the Lord's creation again.

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# I will sing the wondrous story... #

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Now, the Songs Of Praise Young Choir of the Year competition

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is open to all choirs whose members are school age.

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You can enter by going to our website...

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..where you'll find full details and terms and conditions.

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The closing date is December 1st, so no time to lose.

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Next week, in a special programme for remembrance,

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Claire McCollum is in Enniskillen where, 30 years ago,

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an IRA bomb exploded during a Remembrance Day ceremony.

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Our final piece of music is a wonderful hymn of thanks

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to lift the spirit and warm the heart.

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Until next time, goodbye.

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Sing it out, church!

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Sean Fletcher visits Milton Keynes as it celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. He has a kick-about with freestyle footballer Daniel Cutting, whose faith has inspired him to break five world records. Reverend Kate Bottley visits a Christian project restoring broken bicycles while turning around young lives. She also meets award-winning worship leader Noel Robinson and there is music from his band, including We Seek Your Kingdom and Freedom.