New Year Honours Songs of Praise


New Year Honours

Bill Turnbull meets people who have received honours for their actions, including a social action pioneer and bus station manager. Plus hymns from around the UK.


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Transcript


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With Christmas over, our thoughts turn to the New Year.

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In two days' time, in a uniquely British custom,

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our head of state, her Majesty the Queen,

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will honour the great and good for services to their country.

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Since 1877, the New Year Honours List has made the headlines,

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and in recent years, we've seen actors, sporting heroes,

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even some Songs Of Praise presenters collecting their medals

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from the palace.

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But it's not all about famous faces.

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Most of the 2,000 or so honours every year go to people

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most of us have never heard of.

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But with hard work and humility, they have served their communities.

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This week, we hear the story of one man's bravery on the buses.

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An MBE for giving out chocolates.

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And an OBE for the man changing Manchester.

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And we'll be giving God the honour in song,

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with the help of Only Boys Allowed

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and Matt Redman's international hit, 10,000 Reasons.

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There is one place in the country to which all those with honours

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have privileged access.

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We are in St Paul's Cathedral and this is the OBE Chapel,

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and people who've been given honours are allowed to hold

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family weddings and baptisms here.

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The chapel commemorates the founding of the Order of the British Empire

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in 1917 by King George V

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to honour the efforts of the public in the First World War.

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These days, the Cabinet Office in Westminster

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takes care of the process, and it's far more open than it used to be.

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Anyone can nominate anyone for an honour.

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We then consider those nominations.

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The recommendations then go to the Prime Minister

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and those recommendations are put forward to the Queen.

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We feel an immense sense of pride for what people have achieved.

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Actually, you feel a bit humble

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because they have done quite extraordinary things.

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It is often a validation of years and years

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of terrific work in their community.

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The idea of giving honour is at the heart of the Christian faith.

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The word "worship" means giving worth.

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And we do that now with our first hymn,

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written by a retired bishop, Timothy Dudley-Smith.

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He's got an OBE himself for services to hymnody.

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Before anyone's honour is announced,

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a strictly confidential procedure is followed.

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When somebody is put forward for an honour,

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they have, themselves, to agree to take the honour.

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And they can indeed turn it down.

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And we expect them then to send us a letter back saying yes or no.

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If they are anything like me,

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you worry whether you've ticked the right box for a few weeks.

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The medals themselves are prepared by hand

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at small factories, like this one.

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And each medal represents a different kind of service.

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The knighthood is for exceptional achievement

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at national and sometimes international level.

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CBE is also typically national.

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When we come to the OBE,

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we are thinking very much about regional or county level.

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And then MBE and BEM are for local community achievement.

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So the fact that the honour comes from the Queen,

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it's recognition at the highest level

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of what they've done, often for many, many years.

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Joan Kingham has spent her entire life in Dursley in Gloucestershire.

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-How are you?

-Very well.

-How are the children?

-Excellent.

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She was given the MBE in 2011 after 70 years of voluntary work.

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Just one of her many achievements was to help start this day centre

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for elderly people nearly 50 years ago.

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At 94, she is now older than all the visitors.

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Visit a lot of sick people in hospital.

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I visit people in their homes.

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Why do all this work, though, when you could have retired

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and have a quiet life and put your feet up?

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I'd be bored stiff.

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Wouldn't suit me at all, no, I like being with people.

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I've always liked that

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and I think it's part of my faith too, really.

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John chapter 10, Jesus said, "I have come that they might have life.

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"Life in all its fullness.

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"Life in the here and now."

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And for me, that's Dursley.

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Tell me how it felt when you learned that you had been given the MBE.

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I was flabbergasted. It was a great honour.

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But the thing that thrilled me most was that it pleased other people.

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Everybody was so excited. More excited than I was, I think.

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There were so many there. It was so wonderful, yes.

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I still don't know why I got it

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because whatever I was able to do in Dursley,

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I did because I liked doing it. It wasn't a chore at all.

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And do you have strong memories of the investiture?

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SHE LAUGHS As you can see, I'm very wobbly now.

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And in those days, three years ago, I was still rather wobbly.

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I had a horror of falling on the Queen.

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Having to curtsy was a bit of a task for me.

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I only gave a little bob, I think.

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And you wore something special that day, didn't you?

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I wore my best suit and I wore a hat.

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Which is something unheard of. I never wear hats.

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This was, I suppose you'd call it, do they call them fascinators?

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-Fascinators, yes.

-Little thing you stick on the back of your head.

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Oh, I looked absolutely ridiculous.

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So what did you do with it afterwards?

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Oh, that's another story. I gave it to my church for their auction sale.

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And my friend bought it for £20. She had a bargain.

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THEY LAUGH

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Joan, one of your favourite hymns is, I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say.

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Why do you like that one so much?

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It speaks so much of what God does for people

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because of rest and peace and life and light.

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And can you remember what those words are?

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"I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad.

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"I found in him a resting place and he has made me glad."

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In the 1980s, a spate of thefts from Andy Hawthorne's fashion factory

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in Manchester gave him the motivation

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to try and help local youngsters.

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I well remember coming to this factory in the middle of the night,

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and we probably got phone calls three or four times from the police.

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In fact, chasing lads down that very street there,

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they were carrying our stock.

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It seemed like the lads who were growing up here knew little of Christ

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and certainly had never seen the Christian faith demonstrated.

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And me and my brother had his dream that maybe we could see the church

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mobilise for tough, inner-city communities like this.

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And it began on a wing and a prayer,

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forming a pop band to play at local events.

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Its success allowed him to found the Message Trust.

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26 years later,

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that same charity has been praised for rejuvenating council estates

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around the UK and seeing dramatic reductions in crime.

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It's been an amazing 26-year journey

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and starting to see transformation come.

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We're not the silver bullet for mission for Manchester,

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but definitely, we've played our part.

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And Manchester is a very different place.

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We're not seeing full-blown revival yet,

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that's what we're dreaming for, but things are different.

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The only one who can get you a place in heaven, Jesus Christ...

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In Andy's newest venture, he's helping young people in prison

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who face the challenge of returning to life on the outside.

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The day they come out of prison, we can provide them with a job,

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we can provide them with a home in a safe environment

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and we can provide them with supported mentoring.

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And every single young offender that we've been able to deliver that to

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hasn't re-offended.

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They haven't even been back in court. I mean, it's a miracle.

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Five years ago, Mo Timbo was serving a prison sentence.

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Today, he's a manager for a phone company.

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'Andy's ministry and the Message Trust, they gave me hope.'

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They prayed for me, they give me advice,

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they give me a vision for my life

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'that let me know, no matter what your past has been like,

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'there's always a future for you.'

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I certainly don't think the OBE has changed me,

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apart from I've got three letters on my business card.

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Mr Andrew Hawthorne.

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When you're as in your face with your Christian faith as we are,

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people can think you are a bit wacko.

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But there is a credibility that comes from it.

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Actually, the OBE came because of work amongst young people

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in Greater Manchester that's delivering.

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It's a bit like getting your obituary before time

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when you get an OBE. And you realise how much, well,

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how much you're loved, but how much this work is loved.

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What motivates me to keep going

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is the amazing stories of changed lives.

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Just when I feel like giving up,

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I'll hear another dramatic story of somebody who's just utterly,

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utterly messed up, and that person has now gone

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and not just made some little Christian commitment,

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but gone on to do great things in their own right.

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'That's what keeps me going and that's what gets me

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'out of bed in the morning. We love the fact'

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that God changes lives,

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that's what we are about, the Message Trust -

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any life, no life is too broken

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for God not to put it back together again.

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A mate of mine, Matt Redman,

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has written a beautiful song called 10,000 Reasons,

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and we have 10,000 reasons

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and a whole lot more to praise God at the moment.

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# The sun comes up

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# It's a new day dawning

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# It's time to sing your song again

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# Whatever may pass

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# And whatever lies before me

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# Let me be singing when the evening comes

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# Bless the Lord, O my soul

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# O my soul

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# Worship his holy name

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# Sing like never before

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# O my soul

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# I'll worship your holy name

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# You're rich in love

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# And you're slow to anger

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# Your name is great

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# And your heart is kind

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# For all your goodness

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# I will keep on singing

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# 10,000 reasons for my heart to find

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# So bless the Lord, O my soul

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# O my soul

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# Worship his holy name

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# Sing like never before

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# O my soul

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# I worship your holy name

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# And on that day

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# When my strength is failing

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# The end draws near and my time has come

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# Still my soul will sing your praise

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# Unending

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# 10,000 years and then forevermore

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# Forevermore

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# Bless the Lord, oh, my soul

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# Oh, my soul

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# Worship his holy name

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# Sing like never before

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# Oh, my soul

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# I'll worship your holy name

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# Bless the Lord, oh, my soul

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# Oh, my soul

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# Worship his holy name

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# Sing like never before

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# Oh, my soul

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# I'll worship your holy name

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# Yes, I will worship your holy name

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# Lord, I'll worship your holy name. #

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West Croydon bus station is managed by Nana Nyarko, MBE.

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My job is different. Every day is different.

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In August 2011, he found himself in the line of fire.

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Extraordinary scenes in London tonight

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as fires, riots and lootings spread across large parts of the capital.

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A massive blaze is burning in Croydon in south London

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after a furniture store...

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During the London riots, Nana took decisive action

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to protect the public in Croydon

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from the growing unrest across the capital.

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I don't think they even knew what they were doing.

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Some of them were just following their friends,

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shouting, running around.

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Because of the volume, I thought, "I have to keep my station safe."

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So I thought, "I'll close the station."

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So, was it just you? Were you the last one here?

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-I was with my cleaner.

-With the cleaner?

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I can remember a kid came to me and said to me,

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"Uncle, it's better you go home."

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And I thought, "No, I'm not going home. I'm on duty.

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"I'm staying on until my duty is over."

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-Were you scared at any point?

-No, I wasn't.

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In west Croydon, you have to talk to these kids like your own kids,

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so I was just doing my job.

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How did you feel when you found out about the MBE?

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Oh! It was a humbling experience.

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I received the honour to share... That's the word,

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to share with my family, my friends and my work colleagues.

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When we were driving through the gates of Buckingham Palace,

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my sister just said,

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"This is not an honour from anyone, it's an honour from God.

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"You know, for you to be honoured."

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Prince Charles saw me and he knew for sure I'm from Ghana.

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I said to him, "I'll be going home to show the award to my mum."

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He just said, "I hope Mum is proud of you."

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When you go to church, is there a favourite hymn of yours?

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Yes, Amazing Grace.

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I don't know what that song does to me. It just raises my spirit.

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I like that song, Amazing Grace.

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# Amazing grace

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# Amazing love

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# Amazing grace

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# Amazing love

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# Amazing grace. #

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Britain's busiest RAF base is Brize Norton.

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And it's home to Meg Atkinson MBE, who, for 40 years,

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has been sweetly spreading the gospel.

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This is a Meg's Mix.

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It's got all different things in and it comes with a little smiley face.

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Smile, God Loves You.

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I like to feed the body as well as the soul.

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Meg works for SASRA,

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the Soldiers' and Airmen's Scripture Reader Association,

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offering Christian support to the armed forces.

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CHEERING

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How are you doing, guys?

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She's just relentlessly enthusiastic.

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You see Meg and she'll cheer you up straight away.

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She always talks about God and gives you chocolate.

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More importantly, she makes you happy.

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Food for thought.

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Who would like to tackle this little exercise?

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Wherever the lads and lasses are working,

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I'm allowed to go in and get alongside them.

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CHEERING

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I only know about fishing nets.

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The military just really is full of banter.

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But, of course, I'm able to give it back as well.

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And in a good way.

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Meg's infectious enthusiasm, and rather, dare I say it,

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sort of impish wit and humour,

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you can't be bored,

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you can't be miserable when Meg's around.

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She will lift your spirits at every turn,

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and when you're least expecting it.

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Meg deals with people who put their lives on the line.

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And she wants them to have an understanding

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of what the Christian faith and what Jesus Christ has done for them.

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And at the end of the day, that's what she's really talking about.

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Miss Meg Atkinson, for services

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to the Soldiers' and Airmen's Scripture Reader Association.

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Meeting Princess Royal in investiture

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was really, really lovely and a real honour.

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And she did tell me to be careful and to take care of myself.

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The MBE hasn't changed me at all.

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I still do my ministry with the same enthusiasm, and I find even now,

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I'm more comfortable calling it my Meg's Best Efforts

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because I can get quite emotional about it, even now.

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# Our Father

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# Which art in heaven

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# Hallowed be

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# Hallowed be

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# Thy name

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# Thy kingdom come

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# Thy will be done

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# On earth

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# As it is in heaven

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# Give us this day

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# Our daily bread

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# And forgive us our trespasses

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# As we forgive those who trespass against us

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# And lead us not into temptation

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# But deliver us from evil

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# For thine is the kingdom

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# And the power and the glory

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# Forever

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# And ever

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# Amen

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# For thine is the kingdom

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# And the power and the glory

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# Forever

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# And ever

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# Amen

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# Amen. #

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Heavenly father, we give all the glory and honour to you,

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for you alone deserve it.

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Thank you for your gracious love fulfilling us every day.

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And may that love transform us

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and change the lives of everyone across the nation.

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In Jesus' name, amen.

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It's easy to be overawed by the achievements of the people we've met this week,

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but it's worth remembering that they only received their honours

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because someone noticed and nominated them.

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And any one of us can do that.

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Perhaps it's fitting, then, that our last hymn

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comes from a wordsmith whose MBE was for services to hymn writing.

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The late Fred Pratt Green.

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Next week, for Epiphany Sunday, David finds out

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what we can learn from the Wise Men in the Christmas story

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and why this is such an important festival in the Eastern Church.

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There are glorious hymns from Blackburn Cathedral

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and inspirational music from soul singer, Carleen Anderson.

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Bill Turnbull meets people who have been publicly honoured for their actions, including a social action pioneer and bus station manager, and introduces popular hymns and songs from around the UK. Matt Redman performs his international hit 10,000 Reasons.


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