The Yorkshire Dales Songs of Praise


The Yorkshire Dales

Kate Bottley is in the Yorkshire Dales for lambing season, and the archbishop of York meets the mother who forgave those responsible for the death of her son.


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Today Songs Of Praise is in the Yorkshire Dales

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on the beautiful Haw Pike Farm at lambing time.

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I've come to muck in as farmers here help to deliver

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up to 1,000 lambs this season, including this one.

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The farm overlooks the Bolton Abbey estate,

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and later in the programme

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we'll see the lambs as they're blessed in a special ceremony.

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BLEATING

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Josie is also in Yorkshire,

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going back to school as the children find new ways to mark Lent.

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And in the last of his series,

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the Archbishop of York meets the remarkable mother

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who found herself in the media spotlight after she forgave

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those responsible for the death of her son.

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I forgive them because they don't know what they do.

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I've got to forgive them. I still forgive them.

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As always, our music today

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comes from right across the UK.

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But we stay here in Yorkshire for our first hymn.

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It's often sung during Holy Week by Christians as they reflect

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on the life and passion of Jesus.

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Haw Pike Farm in Wharfedale nestles in the stunning Yorkshire Dales.

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This area has been used for sheep farming for more than 1,000 years,

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preserving this iconic landscape.

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The farm is looked after by the Carr family, and like farmers

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right across the country, lambing season is always

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their busiest time of year.

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Lambing is a 24/7 operation,

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and here at the farm everyone is getting stuck in.

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This is a first for me, but I'm more than willing to lend a hand.

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There are over 600 sheep on the farm,

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and if all goes well over 1,000 lambs are expected.

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They can be born any time of the day or night, and I'm joining

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Andy Carr as he does an early-morning check of his flock.

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It's absolutely beautiful here, isn't it?

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Yeah, it's a very special place, I must admit.

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-Especially on a day like today.

-Yeah.

-We've got the weather.

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-It's an amazing place for lambs to be born, as well, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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It must be hard work though. It's not an easy life, is it?

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No, it's not an easy life.

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You know, you need a lot of physical strength and mental strength to get

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through. Some of the days, especially this time of year,

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-are very long.

-And it strikes me that it's more than a job.

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-It's actually a vocation.

-Yes. Yeah, you're right.

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I think it has to be in your blood.

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And I think, as well, faith is important.

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A good wife, definitely, behind you, is important.

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I'll tell her you said that when I see her.

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But faith, I would say, when you do have bad times,

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-I think it does help you get through the day.

-Yeah.

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Most of the lambs are born in the great outdoors. But for those ewes

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who need a little extra help, the barn doubles up as a delivery suite.

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We've been called to a breech birth,

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and Andy's dad is there to ensure a safe delivery.

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It's coming, it's coming, it's coming!

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Well done, Mummy!

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I've never watched any babies being delivered in a pile of hay,

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so that was my first lambing experience. It's so quick.

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-It was so quick.

-Yeah, yeah.

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And if you hadn't intervened then, with it being a breech lamb,

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she wouldn't have got that baby out.

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No, there's no way she could have pushed it out,

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so we have to be on standby.

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That's why we have them in this pen,

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you know, so we can keep an eye on them.

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-You've seen this hundreds of times.

-Yeah.

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-Do you still feel the awe and wonder of the moment?

-Absolutely, yeah.

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It's a miracle, in a way.

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I think it reinforces my faith a lot, as well.

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You'd think there's something greater and more amazing

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than this just happening by chance.

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You're just so happy to see them bonding, as well, you know?

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The Carr family farm is a stone's throw from the ruins

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of Bolton Priory, and later in the programme we'll be attending

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a special blessing service at the Priory Church

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with some of Andy's lambs as the star guests.

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-So Andy, we need to choose a lamb for the service.

-We do, yes.

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We've got four lambs in mind.

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They're fairly quiet. They're barely 24 hours old.

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Right, do you want to take one?

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-I'd love to! This is so exciting. OK.

-There you go.

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Hello, you! Hello, you! Oh, hello! That's a nice kiss!

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So why are you taking these into church?

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It's a celebration of the harvest for this area,

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cos obviously we're not arable farming round here.

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And it's sort of a recognition and appreciation

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of the farming community round here.

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You're going to church!

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Are you going to put your Sunday best on?

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ANDY CARR LAUGHS

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Later on we'll witness some of those cute little lambs being blessed

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at the local priory church.

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But next, it's the last of our series of interviews

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by the Archbishop of York.

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He's met three women with amazing stories of faith.

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In his final interview, he speaks to an inspiring mother.

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Gee Walker's role as a mother

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propelled her onto the national stage

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in a way nobody would wish for.

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11 years ago, her 18-year-old son Anthony

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was attacked and killed near the family home on Merseyside.

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Their story covered the news headlines.

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Gee stood in the spotlight and spoke of forgiving her son's killers,

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who were convicted of murder.

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At the point of death, Jesus said, "I forgive them because they

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"don't know what they do."

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I've got to forgive them. I still forgive them.

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In the memory of her son, she set up the Anthony Walker Foundation,

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a charity promoting racial harmony through education,

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sport and the arts.

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At the time of this recording we're very close, actually,

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to Anthony's birthday. And in fact, you're holding... This is Anthony.

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Yeah. He would have been 30.

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How do you feel at this time of year?

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It's the worst sort of pain.

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It's emotional, it's mental, its physical.

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And I feel sad for those who haven't got the God I know, who when,

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in the darkest...

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..in the darkest, deepest, depths of pain, beyond pain...

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..that when you call out "God help me," he's there to help.

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It's hard,

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and without God I wouldn't have been able to do it.

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So you find God actually does descend to your pain, your darkness?

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Without a doubt.

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There is this peace that does rise up in you, and carries you.

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In the midst of pain you can still say, "God, I honour you,

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"God, I praise you, God, I trust you. And I'm resting in you,

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"I'm confident that you are able to carry me."

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And that's what he does for me.

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Try to be loving, to be kind.

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And when I look at you I see hope of a better future for all of us.

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You are special and you're different.

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Show kindness, show love, and live in peace with each other.

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God bless you, and thank you so much.

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So how do you feel when people come to that place of understanding,

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that forgiveness is better than hate?

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Oh, I rejoice with them, because it is the better way.

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It's not letting them off the hook.

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I say it's a gift I'm entitled to.

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It's a present from God to me.

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You, by nature, really don't like this public attention.

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-So how do you cope?

-I don't!

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It's just by God's grace I do what I have got to do,

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because I do believe my son was born to be great

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and someone's got to carry on.

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I've picked up the mantle, Archbishop,

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and I'll carry it to the best of my ability.

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But as long as I've got life in me, and God's strength,

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I'll keep going.

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It's been amazing talking to you,

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and I'm going to hand you back Anthony's pendant.

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Thank you, Archbishop.

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-And happy birthday to him, as well.

-Thank you.

-OK.

-Thank you.

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Thank you.

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Today is Palm Sunday, and coming up,

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Josie d'Arby is some 20 miles away over in Halifax,

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going back to school and finding out what the pupils are up to

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in the last week of Lent.

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But first, a worship song. The Lion And The Lamb.

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For many Christians, Lent is traditionally a time

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to challenge yourself to perhaps give up a certain luxury.

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Well, what if, instead of targeting one or two things,

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you did 40 challenges for the 40 days of Lent?

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Well, that's what this incredible bunch is doing.

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-ALL:

-Yeah!

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The pupils here at St Malachy's Catholic primary school in Halifax

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are dressing up, baking cakes and being creative

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in order to raise money for, and involve, their wider community.

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In charge of all these creative budding artists

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is deputy headteacher Andrea Sharrock.

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We're looking at what Lent means.

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It's not just giving up things.

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We want to inspire the children that faith is a joyous celebration.

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And we try and do activities that are fun,

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and many that link with either schoolwork or fundraising

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or as many different activities as we can fit in.

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Involving the wider community is a huge part of why the school

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is doing these challenges.

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Will you help your mummy during Lent?

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What could you do to help your mummy?

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They are going round each of their classes with their skills to share,

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so we've got classes who are embroidering,

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those who like painting are just there to support.

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And it's that sharing of skills.

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And what do you hope the children get out of it?

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We want them to understand the religious teachings behind it,

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so that links with the religious curriculum they've got,

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but then we want to fill them with experiences and things

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that they'll never, ever forget.

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The 40 challenges,

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I think it's actually good, because it's time for fun in Lent.

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Oh, look, it's coming right out!

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It's so tiny.

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A lot of hard work has gone into making all these creations,

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including these prayer balloons which will be released later on.

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Meanwhile, the Lenten celebrations continue.

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The pupils here have had an incredibly busy morning.

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They've baked, they've painted, and now, for the members

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of the community here in Halifax that have shown up,

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they're going to sing.

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# Our God is a great big God

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# Our God is a great big God

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# Our God is a great big God

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# And he holds us in his hands. #

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Well, we've all had a fantastic day today and there's only one thing

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left to do.

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A balloon release with all the children's prayers attached.

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-Are you ready?

-ALL:

-Yeah!

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Let it go!

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CHEERING

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And now for a classic Palm Sunday hymn.

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It's lambing season in God's own country, and here in the

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Yorkshire Dales the sheep farmers are working around the clock.

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To show appreciation for all their efforts and bountiful harvest,

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the community are preparing

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for a special blessing of the lambs service

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here at the Priory Church on the Bolton Abbey estate.

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In 1154 a group of Augustinian canons were given this land

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by a wealthy benefactor.

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The priests made their living from sheep farming.

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The ruins are absolutely stunning,

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but back in its day it must have been very impressive.

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It would have been very busy.

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There was a tannery, a forge, a mill, a tailor's shop.

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So there was lots going on here.

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This place has got a really strong connection with sheep farming, then.

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Yes, it has, yes.

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Because they sold the wool. They could eat the meat.

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They used to milk the ewes and make a lot of cheese,

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and then the canons, because there was no heating in the priory,

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of course, the canons used to wear sheepskin under their black habits.

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So they used every part of the sheep.

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-So really integral to the life of the priory, then.

-Absolutely, yes.

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I like to think that the canons would very much approve of

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the lambing service here today in church, don't you?

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-I think they would, yes!

-THEY LAUGH

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-So we're here now.

-Yes.

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The stars of the show.

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How does it feel to have them here finally?

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Yeah, it's a proud moment, really.

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You just hope everything goes to plan.

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-I have complete confidence in your skill as a shepherd...

-Argh!

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-..to get those sheep into that church.

-I'm glad someone does.

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-And if not, I'll have a word.

-Please.

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Well, I'm relying on you there. Thank you.

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Inside, the congregation eagerly await the guests of honour.

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BLEATING

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A good shepherd knows hers or his sheep.

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What's more, not only does the good shepherd know hers or his sheep.

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The sheep know the good shepherd.

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When we know this, then we understand a bit more

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about what Jesus means when he says "I am the good shepherd,

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"working together all people so that there will be one flock."

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Well, these new additions to Andy's flock have certainly been a big hit.

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It shows how the Priory always tries to reach out to the local community

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and, in particular, the farmers.

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And it strikes me that those beautiful lambs...

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What were their names again?

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-Blanche, Blossom, Linda and Priscilla.

-Priscilla, yep.

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They'll be taking a blessing back to the rest of the flock.

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-They will, yes.

-But you'll be taking a blessing back

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to the rest of the farmers, as well.

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Yeah, that's a nice way of putting it, actually.

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-You must feel very proud.

-Yeah, I definitely do.

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# For the beauty of the Earth

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# For the beauty of the skies

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# For the love which from our birth

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# Over and around us lies

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# Over and around us lies

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# Lord of all to thee we raise

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-# This, our joyful hymn of praise

-This, our hymn of praise

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-# For the joy of human love

-For the joy of love

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-# Brother, sister, parent, child

-Brother, sister, parent, child

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-# Friends on earth

-Friends on earth

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-# And friends above

-And friends above

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-# For all gentle thoughts and mild

-For all gentle thoughts and mild

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-# Lord of all, to thee we raise

-Lord of all, to thee we raise

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-# This, our joyful hymn of praise

-Our joyful hymn of praise

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# For each perfect gift of thine

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# To our race so freely given

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-# Graces human and divine

-Graces human and divine

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# Flowers of earth and buds of heaven

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# Flowers of earth and buds of heaven

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# Lord of all, to thee we raise

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-# This, our joyful hymn of praise

-This, our joyful hymn of praise

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-# This, our joyful hymn of praise.

-Our hymn of praise. #

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What a memorable day it's been here in Yorkshire -

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my very first experience of lambing.

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Next week, for Easter Sunday, Sally Magnusson joins the crowds

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in Manchester city centre for a spectacular outdoor performance

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retelling the greatest story ever told - Christ's Passion.

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We leave you now with the perfect hymn for Holy Week.

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# There is a green hill far away...

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The Reverend Kate Bottley is in the Yorkshire Dales for lambing season, and the archbishop of York meets the mother who forgave those responsible for the death of her son.

Music:

Lord Of The Dance from St Aidan's Church, Leeds Now Thank We All Our God from St Ninian's Cathedral, Perth All To Jesus I Surrender from All Saints Ecclesall Parish Church, Sheffield The Lion And The Lamb from City Gates, Ilford Ride On! Ride On In Majesty! From St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich For The Beauty Of The Earth by the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year 2015 There Is A Green Hill Far Away from St Albans Cathedral, St. Albans.


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