The Big Sing: New Year's Eve Songs of Praise


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The Big Sing: New Year's Eve

From the Royal Albert Hall, Songs of Praise gets ready for 2018 with glorious hymns and songs, with Shane Filan from Westlife and Mary Jess.


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It's New Year's Eve and we want to kick-start a big welcome to 2018

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with lots of wonderful hymn singing and special performances

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from the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London.

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Welcome to the Songs Of Praise New Year's Eve Big Sing.

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In today's programme, as the snow falls on London, I'm taking

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a trip along the River Thames, to where the New Year will begin,

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in Greenwich.

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A congregation of 5,000 Songs Of Praise viewers

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will be singing favourite hymns and worship songs.

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And there will be special performances from soprano Mary-Jess,

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the boys choir Libera...

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..and Westlife's Shane Filan.

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APPLAUSE

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I'm starting my journey here at the London Eye, which will be at

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the centre of the spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks

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when the clock strikes midnight tonight.

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And as the whole world prepares to start a brand-new year,

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what better hymn to begin with than

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Let All The World In Every Corner Sing.

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I'm heading to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

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There are many ways to get across London, but with the River Thames

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running through the heart of the city,

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I thought I'd take to the water for the journey.

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As I start my journey, it's time for our first special performance.

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This South London based choir has toured the globe

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and even performed for the Pope.

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It's the boys choir Libera, with From A Distance.

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# From a distance, the Earth looks blue and green

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# And the snow-capped mountains white

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# From a distance, the ocean meets the stream

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# And the eagle takes to flight

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# From a distance, we are instruments

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# Marching in a common band

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# Playing songs of hope

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# Playing songs of peace

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# They are songs of every man

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# God is watching us

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# God is watching us

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# God is watching us from a distance

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# God is watching us

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# God is watching us

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# God is watching us

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# He is watching us

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# He is watching us

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# He is watching us

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# From a distance

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# God is watching us

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# He is watching us

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# He's watching us

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# He is watching us

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# From a distance

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# From a distance, you look like my friend

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# Even though we are at war

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# From a distance, I cannot comprehend

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# What all this fighting's for

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# From a distance, there is harmony

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# And it echoes through the land

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# It's the hope of hopes

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# It's the love of loves

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# It's the voice of every man. #

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APPLAUSE

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Reverend Mark Chester is senior chaplain for the UK Waterways

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and is joining me for my journey on the Churchill.

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Well, Mark, what a beautiful boat. Tell me about the history of her.

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This is one of the historic boats which you find on the waterways

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and canals. It's been used to take VIPs up and down the River Thames

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quite a lot. On one particular momentous occasion,

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it took the Queen Mother to Winston Churchill's funeral.

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And you're chaplain to the waterways.

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How did you come to get involved in it?

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Well, I've been a Church of England vicar for many, many years,

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but after having done that for a while, I really wanted

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to get back to dealing with people perhaps who wanted to engage

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with God but wouldn't come to church.

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And why is it so important to have chaplains on the water?

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Very often, the waterways communities, because they're

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highly mobile, don't tend to have the sort of connectedness

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which you would have if you're land-based.

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And so you really need to have mobile chaplains who can be

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with them and alongside them.

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So we aim to be there to be a listening ear, a helpful hand

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in whatever way is helpful for them.

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I'll be chatting more with Mark later.

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Our next hymn is a really special one, it's a medley of hymns

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from all four corners of the UK.

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So wherever you're celebrating New Year's Eve,

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this one's for you.

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I hope you enjoyed that medley of British favourites.

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I'm with UK Waterways chaplain Mark

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on a journey along the River Thames to Greenwich.

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It's a really different way to see London, from the river,

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isn't it, Mark?

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It is. That's one of the fascinating things about it.

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Because as you look at London from the river,

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you're actually seeing buildings from quite a different perspective.

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That, I think, translates into people having

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a slightly different perspective on God.

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In the Bible, we find people being drawn to water on many occasions.

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We find that the call in Psalm 23 to walk alongside still waters.

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Of course, the symbol of baptism, when we die to ourselves

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and rise again to live for God.

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Well, we're coming to the end of our journey now.

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It's New Year's Eve, Mark.

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What's its significance?

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The significance of New Year for so many people is about new beginnings.

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Of course, that's at the heart of the Christian message.

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In Christ, we do have the opportunity

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to actually have those things sorted out,

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which you might have made a bit of a mess of in the last year.

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Also it's an opportunity to give thanks

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for some of the wonderful things that have happened in the last year.

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A great time to take stock and look ahead with hope, with encouragement

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and trust and faith that we can go forward with God.

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Our next special guest this New Year's Eve

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performed in front of 70 million when she won the X Factor in China.

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Singing the powerful worship song In The Name Of The Lord,

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it's the stunning Mary-Jess.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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# Crowds have lined the narrow streets

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# To see this man from Galilee

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# Just a carpenter some say leading fools astray

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# Yet many kneel to give him praise

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# And in his eyes they glimpse the power

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# That sees the hearts of all men

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# And he knows his father's mind

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# He speaks his father's words

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# For he comes in the name of the Lord

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# There is strength in the name of the Lord

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# There is power in the name of the Lord

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# And there is hope in the name of the Lord

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# Blessed is he who comes

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# In the name of the Lord

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# His name will be worshipped forever

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# Creator Redeemer and King

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# There is strength in the name of the Lord

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# There is power in the name of the Lord

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# And there is hope in the name of the Lord

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# Blessed is he who comes

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# Blessed is he who comes

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# Blessed is he who comes

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# In the name of the Lord

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# Of the Lord

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# In the name of the Lord. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Our final performer here at the Royal Albert Hall was in Westlife

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and had 14 number one hits in the UK,

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including the song he's about to sing for us.

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It's Shane Filan.

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# When I am down

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# And oh, my soul so weary

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# When troubles come

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# And my heart burdened be

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# Then I am still

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# And wait here in the silence

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# Until you come

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# And sit a while with me

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up so I can stand on mountains

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# You raise me up to walk on stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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-# So I can stand on mountains

-Stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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-# To walk on stormy seas

-Stormy seas

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-# I am strong

-I am strong

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# When I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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-# So I can stand on mountains

-Stand on mountains

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# You raise me up

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-# To walk on stormy seas

-Stormy seas

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# I am strong when I am on your shoulders

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# You raise me up to more than I can be

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# You raise me up

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# To more than I can be. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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I've arrived at the historic Prime Meridian

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here at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

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It's on this very spot where midnight officially strikes tonight,

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marking the beginning of 2018 for the UK.

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Greenwich Mean Time has actually only existed

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since the late 19th century.

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Before then, almost every town kept their own local time.

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So if you were in Cardiff, for example,

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then you'd have to wait an extra 13 minutes for midnight to strike.

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Tonight, of course, the whole country will welcome 2018 together.

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But my time here in Greenwich is almost up.

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Next week on Songs Of Praise, Sean Fletcher is in Durham

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for the world's largest festival of light,

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as we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany.

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The great cathedral of Durham is transformed,

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and Sean discovers the stories of the extraordinary saints

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who rest there.

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Also Pam Rhodes goes behind the scenes

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of BBC Radio 4's Daily Service

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as it marks its 90th anniversary.

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We end our New Year's Eve Big Sing

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with one final hymn from the Royal Albert Hall.

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And I think it's the perfect choice.

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All of us on Songs Of Praise wish you a happy and peaceful 2018.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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MUSIC: Songs Of Praise Theme

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Claire McCollum travels by boat from the London Eye to the Greenwich prime meridian to find out what New Year means to Christians. 5,000 Songs of Praise viewers raise the roof of the Royal Albert Hall with glorious hymns including Let All the World in Every Corner Sing, Crown Him with Many Crowns and Over All the Earth. Plus there are special performances from Westlife's Shane Filan, Mary Jess and all-boy choir Libera.