RSPCA Songs of Praise


RSPCA

David Grant visits Leybourne Animal Centre in Kent, run by the oldest welfare organisation in the world - the RSPCA - founded nearly 200 years ago by a vicar.


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Transcript


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ROOSTER CROWS

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This is Leybourne Animal Centre in Kent, where over 700 animals

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are rehabilitated and rehomed every year...

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..and this is one of them, Reed the rabbit.

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The centre's run by the best-known and oldest animal welfare

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organisation in the world, known to everyone by the letters RSPCA -

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but what's less well-known

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is that the then-Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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was the inspiration of a Church of England vicar

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almost 200 years ago.

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On Songs Of Praise,

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we'll be looking into the life of the Reverend Arthur Broome,

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the RSPCA's visionary founder,

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and meeting today's front-line staff

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working to make the world a better place for animals.

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And I'm visiting a church centre designed and built by volunteers.

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You get to know people when you're working together

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on a building site far more than you do just sitting in a pew

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next to them on a Sunday service.

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In a place like this,

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you can really sense how animals fit into God's creation...

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..and so we begin our Songs Of Praise with a timeless classic,

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originally written for children.

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This used to be Old Slaughter's Coffee House,

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a famous meeting house for the great and the good of London.

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It was here that the Reverend Arthur Broome and 22 like-minded men

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gathered in 1824 for the purpose of creating

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a new society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

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It was here that the RSPCA was born.

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But who was the Reverend Arthur Broome?

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We know he was a minister of the parish of Bromley-by-Bow

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for five years during the 1820s, so I went there to find out more.

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So, this is the first minute book

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of the SPCA, as it was then,

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and, as you can see, he has fantastic writing,

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cos I can read it now.

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-His writing is much better than mine.

-Yes.

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And at that first meeting, they decided two important things.

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They set up the committee for the prevention of cruelty,

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which has been done through educating people,

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and they set up the committee

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to pay the first inspectors to go out on the street.

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So we're talking about a time...

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There was bear-baiting, there was cockfighting,

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there was, you know, dog-fighting.

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They must have encountered some very rough opposition.

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It was a very, very difficult job to be an inspector.

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Indeed, cockfighting and bull-baiting

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were two very, very important things,

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particularly for the working class -

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and only ten years after the RSPCA was founded,

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they had to go into a notorious cockfight in Hanwell in Middlesex

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and try to break it up,

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and, unfortunately, one of our inspectors was killed

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trying to do that -

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and that shows the dangers that inspectors faced in those days.

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We still face those dangers today, every day of the year.

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So, those early days - no TV, radio, no internet.

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How did they spread the word about the new society?

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Well, interestingly enough,

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they did it through pamphlets and through sermons.

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One of the first things that Arthur Broome did

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was to ask his colleagues in the church to do sermons on animals,

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and indeed we have records of one priest

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who gave a sermon on animal welfare,

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and his congregation hated it so much

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they complained to the bishop, and he had to...

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he was brought in front of the bishop to explain himself.

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So, that shows how attitudes have changed over the years.

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What happened to the Reverend Arthur Broome in the end?

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Well, we don't know much about his later life.

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He got thrown into prison because of the RSPCA debts.

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In those days, if you got in debt,

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they put you in prison until your debt was paid.

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I think that affected his health,

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and then he stopped attending meetings,

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and after about 1832, he disappeared from our records.

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We know that he died in Birmingham,

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ironically, in a church in the Bull Ring in Birmingham,

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a place where they used to torture and be cruel to bulls,

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which he spent his entire life trying to prohibit.

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Do you think, in a very different world that we're in today,

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that if the Reverend Arthur Broome could see what it has become,

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-he would even recognise it?

-I think he would recognise it immediately.

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I think he would be very proud,

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I think he would be proud of the achievements

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over the last 193 years,

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and I think much more he would have been proud

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of the way people's attitudes have changed towards animals,

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and I think that's really important.

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Leybourne Animal Centre is one of 17 RSPCA rehabilitation centres

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in England and Wales.

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Laura has been a volunteer here for 20 years.

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There are times at work when you come in

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and you can be angry or get sad, erm,

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but then you just have to sort of think that these animals

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are here now and there's so much that you can do for them,

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so actually it's times like that that I do thank God

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that He's given me that opportunity

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to be able to sort of look after the animals.

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Animals just mean so much just to so many people.

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Erm, they're such a valuable part of our lives,

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and I couldn't see my life without animals.

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I'll be back at the animal centre later -

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but first, Connie, with a story from the Cotswolds.

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This is Wotton-under-Edge.

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For 300 years,

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the town has had a lively Baptist congregation

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here at Wotton Baptist Church.

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The church building stood firm for centuries, but needed extending.

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The congregation's problem was how to afford it,

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so they're doing it themselves.

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They've been spurred on by professional architect

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and church member Richard Smith.

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It looks pretty expensive.

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Well, it hasn't actually been that expensive.

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We built it for about £150,000.

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And it would have cost...?

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£300,000, if we'd gone straight to a builder.

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There are all sorts of local church members volunteering their

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time and skills here, all in a race to finish in time

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for the grand opening in just one week's time.

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Church member James is an electrician

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who's given up six months of paid work to help.

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I've found it hugely rewarding.

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Erm, I love doing it.

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I may not be terribly good when it comes to eloquence

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and preaching and anything like that,

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but it's the one way I can contribute.

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And there's Jill, who's a doctor.

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The church here at Wotton is like my family,

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and we've got a project going on,

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and I wanted to give back to the church and to God

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what I've been given through this church.

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So I want to be able to contribute and be part of the team here.

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Then there's local welder Lee,

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who was passing by and offered to lend a hand.

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So I decided to do it for free.

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It's, er, for the church, it's for the community, and I thought,

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you know, I'd do my part and muck in and help out with everybody else.

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-Even the minister's getting involved. Hey, Tom.

-Hi, Connie.

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You're the minister, how does it make you feel,

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-all your congregation doing up the place?

-It's - it's terrific.

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They're just a group of generous people

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who believe in a generous God, and it shows in their lives, you know?

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And how did you raise the money for this?

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Nearly all of it has just been given by members of the church.

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Costs have been cut by people volunteering,

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-and that's what's made it happen.

-So, a week's time -

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are you going to finish in time?

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We are certainly going to get it presentable

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and ready for people to come into it and feel welcome.

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Whether it'll be 100% functional or not, we'll see.

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Well, I should let you get on,

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but in the spirit of this volunteering work,

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give me the brush, come on.

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OK, well, perhaps I'll go and get a cuppa, then.

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Slacking, slacking, the minister is slacking.

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Yes, I may have been lending a bit of a hand myself,

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but it's hats off to the real volunteers here.

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And for the lynchpin of the whole project, Richard,

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it's about more than just bricks and mortar.

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It has been tremendously galvanising in the congregation.

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You get to know people when you're working together on a building site

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far more than you do just sitting in a pew next to them

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on a Sunday service.

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-And has this project brought the community together?

-Yes.

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And in fact one day one person said to me,

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"Wow, in this day and age I thought churches were closing down."

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A church is actually expanding.

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I've got very emotionally involved in it.

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I've... At night I wake up thinking about it.

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CROWD: Three, two, one...

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After over 20 years dreaming of this day, it's finally arrived,

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and the new centre is open.

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It's a moment of pride and relief

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for Tom, Richard, and the whole church.

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It's been a manic couple of weeks.

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We've been working really hard to get it done, so, yeah,

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I'm thrilled with the result, really.

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It's all looking pretty together, and welcoming,

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which is the key thing, really.

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Haven't slept for quite a few nights,

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but tonight I will sleep well!

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# Praise Him

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# Praise Him

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# Praise Him

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# Praise Him

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# Jesus

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# Blessed Saviour

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# He's worthy to be praised

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# From the rising of the sun

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# Until the going down of the same

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# His glory

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# Jesus' glory

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# He's worthy to be praised

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-# Praise him

-Praise him

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-# Praise him

-Praise him

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-# Praise him

-Praise him

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-# Praise him

-Praise him, yeah

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-# Jesus

-Jesus

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-# Blessed saviour

-Blessed saviour

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# He's worthy to be praised

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-# Glory

-Glory

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-# Glory

-Glory, yeah

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-# In all things

-In all things

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-# Give him glory

-Give him glory

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-# Jesus

-Jesus

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-# Blessed saviour

-Blessed saviour

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-# He's worthy to be praised

-He's worthy to be praised

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-# God is our rock

-God is our rock

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-# Mm, yeah

-Hope of salvation

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# Hope of salvation

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-# A strong deliverer

-And strong, he's a strong deliverer

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# Yeah

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-# In him will I always trust

-In him will I always trust

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-# Mm, praise him

-Praise him

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-# Praise him

-Praise him

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-# Praise him

-Praise him

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-# Praise him

-Praise him

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-# Jesus

-Jesus

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-# Blessed saviour

-Blessed saviour

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-# He's worthy to be praised

-He's worthy to be praised. #

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Being a Christian in some parts of the world can be difficult,

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and in others, extremely dangerous.

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Pakistan is, according to studies,

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the fourth most perilous place on the planet to be a Christian.

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Yet when a bishop from Hyderabad came to visit Glasgow,

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he was not looking for respite but to pick up ideas

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of how to help the local community in his home city,

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as Sally Magnusson discovered.

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What is the community that you're working with and living among

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in Hyderabad like?

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We live with Muslims and then with Hindus,

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and we as a diocese very much believe in our social gospel,

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and that is why we have got the six schools,

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and three or four different projects

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which deal with the social issues of the society.

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Bishop Kaleem and his party's first stop is the Lodging House,

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a homeless shelter

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run in conjunction with Glasgow City Mission.

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We're trying, really, to bring people up in life a bit

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and restore their dignity.

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That's our wider aim.

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Stage one is just to bring them in and offer them something to eat.

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Financial problems, mental health and drug addiction

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are some of the issues the team deal with on a daily basis.

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Is it independent work or is it funded by anything?

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Ah, we need over £300,000 a year to run this place.

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SALLY CHEERS

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I'm out of practice nowadays!

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It's not every day a bishop from Pakistan makes a stop

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at a laundrette in Glasgow,

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but Bishop Kaleem is here to meet Jake Crawley,

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who started up her own business in the church.

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-You are a volunteer.

-Volunteer, yeah.

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I was on benefits for a few years,

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and we come in to start the self-reliant group.

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Is it all day, or do you work for certain hours of the day?

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Well, I do my own work, half five till half nine in the morning,

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then I come into the laundry Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

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The laundrette was started with the help of an initiative

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called WEvolution, which originated in India in the late 1980s.

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It helps people to support each other to form small businesses.

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The church provides the space, and how did you get the machines?

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Through micro-finance through WEvolution.

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We borrowed 5,000 off them.

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So we paid that within a year back

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with the money that came in from the laundrette.

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And your hope is that you'll get enough customers to make

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-a profit and then have an income yourself?

-Yeah, yes.

-Yes.

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And I'll be along with my ironing.

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And you'll come along with your ironing, good, another customer.

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It's been a busy and useful trip for the bishop,

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and he's noticed a familiar theme which resonates strongly with him.

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For the church it is very important, especially nowadays,

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to connect with the local community,

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to tell them that the church is there.

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Church is not there only to worship God,

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but at the same time to serve the people of God,

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and I think this is how we can serve the people of God,

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and God will really appreciate that.

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Today, St George's flag is fluttering from English rooftops

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in celebration of the feast day of England's patron saint.

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According to myth, he's a celebrated dragon slayer,

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but to Christians, he's also a martyr.

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The hymn most associated with St George

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will have been sung today

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in churches up and down the English shires.

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Written by the poet William Blake, it is, of course, Jerusalem.

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At RSPCA animal centres the doors are always open

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to help animals in need -

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including some of the more unusual pets,

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like Cliff the ferret.

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Now, when he's leaping about, I've never seen anything like that.

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-Is that what ferrets do?

-Yeah, so when they're really excited,

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they tend to do a ferret dance, where you'll see him hopping around,

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and they chatter away to themselves when they're really excited.

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-Ferret dancing?

-Yes.

-Wow!

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So, this is Cliff.

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He's super-friendly, so he's really good at being handled,

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as you can see.

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-So this is your dream job?

-It is indeed, yeah.

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I've always wanted to work for the RSPCA.

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As a Christian yourself, did it surprise you to know

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-that the founder of the RSPCA was a Christian?

-It did actually, yeah.

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I, er, I'll be honest with you, I didn't know,

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but at the same time it makes a lot of sense.

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I believe that, obviously, God made the Earth,

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He made us and the animals, and we're here to look after them.

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-Mm-hm.

-And unfortunately quite a few people don't look after them,

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and we see it every day here with all the animals we get.

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Has that had an effect on the way that you view people?

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Obviously, to some degree, but I try to not let it.

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The people that we get here are always lovely and friendly and kind,

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and they just want to give the animals a new home.

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You'll get involved in an animal,

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usually at the point of their greatest stress and trauma,

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and you nurse them through that, restore them to health.

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Is it ever difficult to say goodbye to them,

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because you must become emotionally engaged?

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Yeah, of course, erm, it is an emotional rollercoaster, my job,

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but it's a good rollercoaster cos the end is always good.

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So seeing them going to their new homes is what they deserve.

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So, Cliff, he came in as a stray.

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Erm, he had ticks all over him, and, erm, was quite underweight,

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so we've fattened him up, and now he's looking for a home,

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so the best bit will be seeing him with his new family.

0:27:200:27:23

Well, obviously, dogs like to be walked, and cats like to be stroked.

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Is there anything particularly that ferrets like?

0:27:260:27:29

-Cliff in particular likes having his belly rubbed.

-Yeah?

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-And the occasional rock.

-Rock? How do you rock a ferret?

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So, you just hold him and just...

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just slowly rock him side by side.

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DAVID LAUGHS

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-You can hold him if you want to.

-Can I?

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You literally just go like that.

0:27:450:27:47

-OK.

-Around there.

-So, like that?

-Yeah.

0:27:470:27:50

-And then you kind of give him a little rock?

-Yeah.

0:27:500:27:53

Awwwww!

0:27:530:27:55

# Morning has broken

0:28:030:28:08

# Like the first morning

0:28:080:28:13

# Blackbird has spoken

0:28:130:28:17

# Like the first bird

0:28:170:28:22

# Praise for the singing

0:28:220:28:26

# Praise for the morning

0:28:260:28:30

# Praise for them springing

0:28:300:28:35

# Fresh from the world

0:28:350:28:41

# Sweet the rain's new fall

0:28:410:28:46

# Sunlit from heaven

0:28:460:28:50

# Like the first dewfall

0:28:500:28:55

# On the first grass

0:28:550:28:59

# Praise for the sweetness

0:28:590:29:04

# Of the wet garden

0:29:040:29:08

# Sprung in completeness

0:29:080:29:13

# Where his feet pass

0:29:130:29:17

# Mine is the sunlight

0:29:190:29:23

# Mine is the morning

0:29:230:29:28

# Born of the one light

0:29:280:29:32

# Eden saw play

0:29:320:29:37

# Praise for the singing

0:29:370:29:41

# Praise for the morning

0:29:410:29:45

# Praise for them springing

0:29:450:29:50

# Fresh from the world

0:29:500:29:55

# Fresh from the world. #

0:29:560:30:04

Arthur Broome, founder of the RSPCA, died in 1837.

0:30:100:30:15

Just four days later,

0:30:150:30:17

the young Victoria was crowned Queen of England, and in 1840,

0:30:170:30:21

she gave the charity her royal seal of approval,

0:30:210:30:25

and the title by which it is known today,

0:30:250:30:28

the Royal Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals.

0:30:280:30:33

Arthur Broome is the inspiration behind all the work being

0:30:330:30:36

done by the RSPCA here and around the world,

0:30:360:30:39

and I'm sure he could never have imagined the enduring legacy

0:30:390:30:43

of his vision born out of Christian principles

0:30:430:30:46

and an unshakeable faith in God.

0:30:460:30:48

# God in three persons

0:30:510:30:56

# Blessed Trinity... #

0:30:560:31:01

Holy, holy, holy.

0:31:010:31:03

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:33:280:33:31

David Grant visits Leybourne Animal Centre in Kent, run by the oldest welfare organisation in the world - the RSPCA - founded nearly 200 years ago by a Church of England vicar.

Hymns/Music

All Things Bright and Beautiful from St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich How Great Thou Art from Orangefield Presbyterian Church, Belfast Praise Him by Paul Lee with Adventist Vocal Ensemble Let All the World in Every Corner Sing from St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth Jerusalem from St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle Morning Has Broken by Jules Knight Holy, Holy, Holy from City Gates Church, Ilford.


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