Summertime Songs of Praise


Summertime

David Grant and Diane Louise Jordan find out the connection between a famous holiday camp and the church and explore what makes one hymn the nation's favourite.


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Transcript


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The sun's out one minute...

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And clouds and rain the next.

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The roads are busy, and when you get to where you're going, it's packed.

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It must be the Great British Summer.

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Enjoy your holiday! I could get into this stuff, it's great!

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It's brilliant, isn't it?

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It goes to prove there is nothing we Brits do better than

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enjoying our summer holidays, rain or shine.

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You're absolutely right, and that's why today on Songs Of Praise,

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we're celebrating the Great British Summertime.

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Anyway, there's still work to do, so Spencer,

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if you don't mind, just take some cases over there, that'd be great.

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-Thank you, my man.

-Thank you, my man.

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You've got work to do as well. There's some more there for you.

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Come on, chop, chop! Yes, hurry up. Do some work.

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-Bossy!

-I heard that!

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Today, as part of our summer specials,

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we find out how a summer's day inspired the nation's

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favourite hymn, see some rarely seen archive from one of the UK's

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first holiday camps...

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And for the first time, we meet the Corrs, a Christian family,

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as they take on challenges to test their faith.

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With yesterday being the longest day,

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we really are in the thick of the summer months,

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and for many of us, our thoughts excitedly jump ahead to

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packing our suitcases and heading off on our summer holidays.

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Holiday actually means "holy day",

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so it seems absolutely appropriate that we reflect on its true

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meaning today with our very first hymn, Summer Suns Are Glowing.

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Well, sadly, British holidays don't always have the summer sun

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glowing on them, as we Brits know all too well.

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But come rain or shine, we know how to enjoy our precious time

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away from the humdrum of daily life.

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Resorts like this one are a familiar feature

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on the British holiday landscape.

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Back in the 1930s, the idea of a self-contained holiday camp where

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people could have fun regardless of the weather was revolutionary,

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and it was all down to one man, Sir Billy Butlin.

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Having spent much of his youth travelling the world, Billy

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came to the UK with a desire to be a showman.

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First building a hoopla stall, he moved on to buying the rights to

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dodgem cars, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Welcome to Butlins, Bognor Regis.

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To find out more,

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I've come to meet the resort's archivist Roger Billington.

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How did the holiday camp start, and where did he get the idea?

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He got the idea when he was visiting one of his amusement parks

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at Barry Island in South Wales. He stayed in a B&B.

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He realised that they didn't give you a key to the door,

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so when you'd had your breakfast, you were chucked out.

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He thought, "Wait a minute, these poor people,

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"it's throwing it down with rain,

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"and they couldn't get back in until evening meal."

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He thought, "What if I built a holiday camp

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"and give everybody a key, so they can come and go as they please?"

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It was the first package holiday, really.

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It soon became a success, but what many people didn't

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know was the role the church played in Billy's life.

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When he opened Skeggy, he hadn't twigged about the church.

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He thought of everything, the amusement parks, the chalets,

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-the funfairs, everything.

-But the church.

-But the church.

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He was approached by his customers who said, "Do you run a chapel?"

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And he hadn't, so he got a guy in.

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-MALE VOICEOVER:

-Did you know that there's a resident Padre at

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every camp, and a special church set aside for the use of campers?

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The gentleman's name was Canon Pugh,

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that's the senior chaplain for Butlins, and he was also

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the Queen's chaplain as well, so he picked very wisely there.

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-MALE VOICEOVER:

-The Padre is a friend of every camper, and is ready at all

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times to give advice and comfort wherever it may be needed.

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And from there, Billy built chapels on all his camps,

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and the camp chaplain, as they were known then,

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became an integral part of the resort's life.

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We used to introduce them on a Saturday night,

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so we had the gated theatre on a Saturday night,

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where we'd put the show on, and we used to do this who's who,

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and it was, "Here we have the general manager,

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"here we have the entertainments manager,

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"and if you want to know about what the weather's going to be

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"this week, we have the Padre, Padre Whatever",

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and they used to play He's Got The Whole World In His Hands,

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-and they were getting really into the swing of it.

-Wow!

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So, by the sound of it, the chaplains, they were

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an integral part of the life, they weren't just there for Sundays.

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Oh, no, no.

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I mean, they used to get involved with judging competitions,

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Holiday Princess, Glamorous Grandmothers, Knobbly Knees,

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you name it, and they entered into the spirit of it.

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Lovely people, and they would've made good Redcoats.

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You might think we're in the Mediterranean, but this is

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Minehead, and the resort here is home to the only remaining chapel.

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I think what you have to imagine, it's Sunday morning,

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it's perhaps Easter morning, it's perhaps 8:00, and the centre

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is waking up, and then people are coming in,

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so many indeed that they can't get in,

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and these chairs have to be taken out so that everybody is standing.

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For 22 years,

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Tony was part of the chaplaincy team across the famous holiday resorts.

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He was responsible for the pastoral and faith needs of guests and staff.

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I was a priest who, when I was ordained,

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elected not to be a parish priest, to be a worker priest.

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I've always been interested in opportunities where people

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can express their faith or can work out their faith or

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talk about their faith in the real world.

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I need perhaps to tell you a little story.

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I was in the bar at Butlins one day,

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and a man came and sat next to me.

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He looked at me, I got my collar on, and he said,

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"What are you doing here?"

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I said, "I work here, I'm the chaplain."

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He said, "I come on holiday to get away from people like you",

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and I said, "Oh!",

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and he didn't stop talking for three quarters of an hour,

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and he said, "I've never spoken to a vicar before." I said, "Well,

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"you've got one in your own town." "I wouldn't do that", he said.

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And I think the great thing about being a chaplain like this, you have

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this opportunity where people are away from home,

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they're not going to see you again,

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so they don't have to commit to the church, but they can talk about

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their faith and they can talk about what's important in their lives,

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and for me, the greatest moment on a Saturday morning,

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the people would get out of their cars and you'd see the children

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skipping across the grass and there on the paths to the

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registration, in their excitement to start the week as they looked

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round and saw all that was going on, and that's what I like about it,

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and that's what really attracted me to it.

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# All things bright and beautiful

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# All creatures great and small

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# All things wise and wonderful

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# The Lord God made them all

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# Each little flower that opens

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# Each little bird that sings

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# He made their glowing colours

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# He made their tiny wings

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# All things bright and beautiful

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# All creatures great and small

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# All things wise and wonderful

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# The Lord God made them all

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# The purple-headed mountain

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# The river running by

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# The sunset and the morning

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# That brightens up the sky

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# The cold wind in the winter

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# The pleasant summer sun

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# The ripe fruits in the garden

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# He made them every one

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# All things bright and beautiful

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# All creatures great and small

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# All things wise and wonderful

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# The Lord God made them all

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# He gave us eyes to see them

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# And lips that we might tell

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# How great is God Almighty

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# Who has made all things well

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# All things bright and beautiful

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# All creatures great and small

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# All things wise and wonderful

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# The Lord God made them all. #

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Although holidays may be incredibly relaxing for the thousands

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of people who come to resorts every year, for those who work here,

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it's hard work keeping the fun going. Don't you agree, Diane?

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Well, I'm thinking it's hard work just getting an ice cream cone!

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-Chris, have I done that?

-Yep, you have.

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You're going to dig, not scoop.

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How are you doing with your perfect scoop?

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-I'm perfectly landing it in the cone! How does that look?

-It's OK.

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-It's OK, that's encouraging words. You can eat that.

-Thank you.

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So, obviously, the staff know what they're doing here.

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We've got 1,200 staff like Chris making sure that everybody

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here has the most perfect holiday, and also,

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-how many eggs do you like for your breakfast?

-One or two.

-One or two.

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I certainly like two. But here, they cook...

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Tell me if I'm right, Chris...

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-3,500 eggs are cooked every day just for breakfast. Correct?

-Correct.

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-Wow.

-Correct.

-Wow! That's incredible!

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...for the Redcoats...

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But it's not the amount of eggs cooked each day that the resort

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is best known for, it's the iconic Redcoats,

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and I'm lucky enough to get my hands on some precious examples.

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-We're looking at the first one there.

-So this is from 1936?

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This is '36, the original blazer.

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There's only six of these survived, the first six Redcoats,

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and the uniform, for me, is wonderful.

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You have to be quite outgoing and

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-a people person to wear one of these, don't you?

-Yeah, yeah.

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You associate that with Redcoats.

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Do you think I would have made a good Redcoat?

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Yes, yes, I was hoping you were going to put one on, actually.

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THEY LAUGH

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Whilst this famous resort is known for its Redcoats,

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we here on Songs of Praise are known for our beautiful and iconic music.

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But there is one hymn, "How Great Thou Art",

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that stands out as being a bit of a favourite.

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I'm meeting up with Songs of Praise conductor Simon Lole

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to find out why.

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I felt the hymn was calling me!

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I was waiting for you to sing.

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SHE LAUGHS

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I don't think I could ever do that in public.

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-What a magnificent...that's my favourite hymn!

-Is it really?

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-Yeah! To me, that's the perfect hymn.

-Not just you I think.

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I think it's Songs of Praise's favourite hymn, isn't it?

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Over the last 20 years or something like that.

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-Exactly.

-But it's a very special hymn.

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I mean, do you know the history of it?

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Go on, tell me, I don't know if I do.

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I think it's very fascinating

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and I think that's what makes it really special.

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There was this chap called Stuart Hine

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and he was a very Christian man and he became a missionary

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and about 1930, 1934 I think, in fact,

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he decides to go on a bicycle ride up the mountains in Eastern Europe.

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When he was there, it was the most beautiful summer's day

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and he had a lovely time.

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But on his first night, I believe, the storm clouds came over

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and suddenly it was raining and everything and it made him

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feel at home, just like he was back in England.

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From that experience he wrote the first verse.

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"I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder."

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So, very personal testament in this first verse

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and there's a wonderful marriage between music and words in this.

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For example, the narrative at the beginning in the verse, erm...

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is very simple, very straightforward and then it repeats itself,

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so if you don't know the hymn, you soon pick it up.

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Then, of course, this great shout of praise.

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# Then sing my soul, da-dum-dum-dum. #

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-Yes, it stirs you up.

-It just reflects itself so magically.

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Absolutely!

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So, I can understand how people really get impassioned

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and empowered by this lovely hymn.

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I did a little experiment, actually, cos I was thinking, you know,

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the words and the music are so synonymous.

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Sometimes we get hymns where you can get different tunes

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and it still works.

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Something like "All Things Bright and Beautiful",

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there's two tunes there and they both work very nicely

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and I thought if I could find another hymn which fitted

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these words, just to try an experiment and see.

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So, I don't know what you think here, so I think most people

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-will know the hymn "Great is They Faithfulness".

-Another good hymn.

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Well, a great hymn, yeah.

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But it's exactly the same meter but if I sing it, and forgive my voice,

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but I'll give you an idea and just see what you think here.

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# Oh, Lord, my God,

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# When I in awesome wonder

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# Consider all the works

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# Thy hand hath made. #

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-It just loses the power.

-It does, doesn't it? It hasn't got that...

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# Oh, Lord, my God. #

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No...when you hear it to the tune we all know it, straightaway it just

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uplifts you, you just feel like all I want to do is just worship God.

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It sort of encapsulates in very few words some very powerful messages.

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You know, "The greatness of God's creation,

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"The greatness of Christ's redemption,

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"The greatness of his promise".

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You know, it's really magical!

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As you can see from all the people around us,

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spending time together is an important

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part of the Great British holiday

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and family is also an integral element of the Christian faith.

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So, we thought we'd see what life was like for an ordinary Christian

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family in 21st century Britain.

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The Corrs, a Catholic family from Essex.

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Earlier this year, they responded to our appeal for a family to

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take part in some of our programmes over the summer.

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The idea is that we set them some challenges, so that you can

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find out how their Christian faith is woven into their lives.

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It's a sunny Saturday morning and our family are curious to know

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why they've been asked to turn up at the local campsite.

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Right, now, I hope you're up for a challenge.

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Mum and Dad versus you girls.

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Oooh!

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We're going to give you a tent each and the first group with your

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tent up will be a chocolate biscuit with the stove-made tea.

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Oh, the challenge is on!

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And off they go.

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I wanted that one!

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Right, I've got this one.

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What better way to test their faith than putting up

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a tent on a windy summer's day?

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We've got instructions with ours.

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Don't worry about them, I'm a man, we don't need instructions.

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This is not the first time dad Martin has been on Songs of Praise.

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I was last on Songs of Praise when I was about 11.

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I remember it being a very hot summer and I remember there

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being lots of rehearsals before the final recording.

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Erm, I just loved being part of the experience,

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it was truly moving and something I will never forget!

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Fast forward 31 years and Martin with his wife, Sam,

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twin daughters, Charlotte and Sophie

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and younger sister Aimee are...erm, enjoying the task we've set them.

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That looks like it could be the porch.

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I really liked working together,

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cos it really showed that our sisters are very close, aren't we?

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Family's at the heart of Christian life, really.

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Because I think it's what life is all about,

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it's about showing love to each other

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and enjoying each other's companies and being there for each other

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during the bad times and the good times.

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Oh, no, they're winning already!

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I think it just shows a little of our competitiveness as a family.

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Whilst Mum and Dad have found the instructions and are methodically

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getting on with it, the girls still can't get to grips with the tent.

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You've got a parachute there.

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Over an hour has passed and the girls' tent is still on the floor.

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Maybe this was a tougher challenge than they first thought.

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There was a few arguments because we were all getting very stressed.

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Sophie, let go!

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What really matters is we actually get it up like they have.

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-It's meant to go like that.

-Ours is inside-out.

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-What is, your tent?

-Yes.

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LAUGHTER

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I'm looking forward to taste those chocolate biscuits!

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Oh, lovely cup of tea.

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Whilst I did kind of enjoy giving the girls a bit of a thrashing

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in getting the tent up before them,

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I did really feel sorry for them.

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I looked across and we'd got our tent up and I looked at them

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and they were really struggling, and I think that's when the

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instinct as a parent kicks in and you think we can't just leave

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them high and dry, we've got to get involved, we've got to help them.

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So, two hours in and it's Mum and Dad who've triumphed,

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but for the girls, frustration has set in

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and they look to their parents to help them finish the challenge.

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You're nearly there, though, you've done the hard bit.

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All you've got to do is get it up.

0:26:350:26:36

The five of us are very close, and we all help each other when

0:26:360:26:39

we're sort of struggling and I know that

0:26:390:26:42

Mum was trying to hold back from trying to help us

0:26:420:26:45

when she was doing her tent.

0:26:450:26:47

So, you all need to work together.

0:26:470:26:50

As a family, I would say,

0:26:500:26:51

the one thing that we've taken away from this challenge is how much

0:26:510:26:56

we enjoy working together and how out of our comfort zone we are

0:26:560:27:00

when we don't work together.

0:27:000:27:01

That's it, I think we're done.

0:27:010:27:03

For us, our faith is rooted in everything we do as a family.

0:27:030:27:07

-Definitely.

-And family life is very important to us.

0:27:070:27:10

-Who would like that biscuit?

-You have it, go on.

0:27:100:27:12

We'll be seeing more of the Corr family on Songs of Praise

0:27:120:27:15

throughout the summer months.

0:27:150:27:17

# Shall I compare thee

0:27:210:27:23

# Oooh-oooh-oooh

0:27:230:27:26

# To a summer's day

0:27:260:27:30

# Thou art more lovely

0:27:300:27:32

# Oooh-oooh-oooh

0:27:320:27:34

# And more temperate

0:27:340:27:38

# Aaaah

0:27:380:27:39

# Rough winds do shake

0:27:390:27:40

# The darling buds of May

0:27:400:27:44

# Aaaah

0:27:460:27:47

# And summer's lease hath all too short a date

0:27:470:27:54

# So long as men can

0:27:540:27:58

# Breathe or eyes can see

0:27:580:28:02

# So long lives this and this

0:28:030:28:08

# This gives life to thee

0:28:080:28:11

# Sometime too hot

0:28:140:28:17

# Oooh-oooh-oooh

0:28:170:28:19

# The eye of heaven shines

0:28:190:28:21

# And often is his gold

0:28:230:28:25

# Oooh-oooh-oooh

0:28:250:28:27

# Complexion dimmed

0:28:270:28:30

# Aaah

0:28:310:28:32

# And every fair from fair

0:28:320:28:34

# Sometime declines

0:28:340:28:38

# Aaah

0:28:400:28:41

# By chance, or nature's

0:28:410:28:43

# Changing course, untrimmed

0:28:430:28:48

# So long as men can

0:28:480:28:51

# Breathe or eyes can see

0:28:510:28:56

# So long lives this and this

0:28:560:29:00

# This gives life to thee

0:29:000:29:05

# But thy eternal summer shall not fade

0:29:070:29:12

# Nor lose possession

0:29:140:29:17

# Of that fair thou owest

0:29:170:29:22

# So long as men can

0:29:250:29:29

# Breathe or eyes can see

0:29:290:29:34

# So long lives this and this

0:29:340:29:39

# This gives life to thee

0:29:390:29:43

# So long as men can

0:29:430:29:46

# Breathe or eyes can see

0:29:460:29:51

# So long lives this and this

0:29:520:29:56

# This gives life to thee

0:29:560:30:00

# Oooh-oooh-oooh

0:30:030:30:07

# Oooh-oooh-oooh. #

0:30:070:30:10

Well, fancy finding you here

0:30:150:30:18

relaxing in this rather cosy deckchair.

0:30:180:30:20

It's been that kind of day,

0:30:200:30:22

I've discovered the Great British holiday is alive and well and

0:30:220:30:26

also at the history of Butlins, how much faith lies right at its heart.

0:30:260:30:31

And as a perfect summer's day comes to an end,

0:30:330:30:35

we think we've got the perfect hymn to finish with.

0:30:350:30:38

Next week, we head to Yorkshire to celebrate the biggest annual

0:33:090:33:13

sporting event in the world coming to town.

0:33:130:33:16

Claire meets the man responsible for the hundreds of cyclists

0:33:160:33:18

taking over the roads...

0:33:180:33:20

and Connie sees how the churches are getting in on the act too.

0:33:200:33:24

As we look forward to the summer holidays David Grant and Diane Louise Jordan pack their suitcases and head to the seaside to celebrate the Great British Summer. They'll be finding out the connection between the country's most famous holiday camp and the church, as well as exploring what makes one hymn the nations favourite.


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