Young Voices Songs of Praise


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Young Voices

Sally Magnusson meets young people in Wigan on a mission to get the town singing for Christmas, and schoolchildren who are putting faith first.


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With just 10 days until Christmas, our thoughts turn to children,

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and not just to the ones getting the presents,

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but to the baby at the heart of Christmas

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and the glorious message he brought of peace and goodwill to all.

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We're at St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic church

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for tonight's Songs of Praise

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to celebrate with the young people of Wigan

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and to hear how they're making a difference in their own community

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in the true spirit of Christmas.

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So join us as we sing some wonderful carols by candlelight.

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As the big day nears, we're bringing the young people

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of Wigan together for a Christmas treat.

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We'll be finding out how Wigan's youth are using faith

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and music to make a difference in their town.

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# The first Nowell

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# The angel did say

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# Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay

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# In fields where they

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# Lay keeping their sheep

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# On a cold winter's night

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# That was so deep... #

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Thanks very much to Louisa

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for leading us in that first carol so beautifully.

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We'll be hearing from her a bit later on.

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We're surrounded by talented musicians tonight.

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One of them is right here, Josh Hales.

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He's playing the organ for us this evening.

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And you're a graduate of the Wigan Music Service.

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How early did you start with that?

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I was eight years old when I started playing the cornet.

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The Wigan Music Service were brilliant. They came into school

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and they played various pieces on their brass instruments,

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but also had a hosepipe with a mouthpiece attached,

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which we got to have a go at.

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And I went home and I just said I'd really like to try the cornet.

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-Bit of a leap from the cornet to the organ.

-Yeah.

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I went to a brass band concert

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and they played a piece that was an arrangement of an organ piece

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and I bought a CD of that on the organ

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and thought I'd really like to have a go at that.

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And now you're a full-time organist

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and able to play that wonderful repertoire of religious music.

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What does that mean to you?

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Well, it means an awful lot.

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I find it very moving, to be honest, often. In all sorts of contexts.

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Sometimes I can find it moving to play a really sort of quiet,

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prayerful verse of a psalm,

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but other times, it's so exhilarating

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to accompany a full church or a cathedral of people, full organ.

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Thanks very much, Josh.

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And Josh is going to be playing for us again now.

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Some of us will have learned this next carol at school,

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so we're hoping for some very enthusiastic singing

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from the young choirs who are with us this evening.

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It's the Calypso Carol.

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At nearby St Edmund Arrowsmith High School,

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a thriving school group aims to get pupils more involved at church.

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One of the pupils, Callum, is our young reporter.

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Welcome to our IMPACT group.

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It might look and sound like chaos,

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but trust me, we know what we're doing.

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So we've got Tom, as well.

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Has anybody got any other ideas of how we can advertise?

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IMPACT stands for Involving More People At Church Today.

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Everyone needs to like our Facebook page.

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It's basically about getting the youth involved in the local churches.

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So what we do as our group is we plan our own Mass,

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but we also include something like a social section of the day.

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It's a case of bonding, really,

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getting to know the other members of the youth in the parish.

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On Sunday, before the Mass, we gather together and celebrate.

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We have lots of delicious cakes.

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A group of last year's Year 11s have come along today

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to share in this experience of our Mass.

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They were key members in setting up the IMPACT group

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and since they've left, we've carried on

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what they originally set out to do.

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We first went to an archdiocese conference in Liverpool

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and we were, like, inspired by the good works

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of all the charities there,

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so we decided that we wanted to form a group in school

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that would help and get more young people starting church.

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So that was when we came up with IMPACT.

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Why do you think IMPACT's been such a success?

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I think IMPACT's been a success because it's a one-of-a-kind group.

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There's so many people involved that are dedicated to their faith.

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And they're very happy to stand up for what they believe in.

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It also shows willingness in the community that it's not just

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the older people that want to get involved, it's the children as well.

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And they all want to take an active role in their religion.

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We pray that as we move forward on our journey as the IMPACT Group,

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we will come to know what the Lord is asking of us.

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Everyone's practised their parts. Now, it's time for Mass.

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It was Heaven that gave me these limbs.

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For the sake of His laws, I disdain them.

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ALL: I shall be filled, when I awake,

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with the sight of your glory, O Lord.

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It was really nice to see so many young people

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because I think that's something that we lack at times.

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And I think it brought a lot of youthful energy into the church.

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'It's a very good sign. I only wish we could have these'

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kind of services more often.

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Having successfully arranged their own Mass,

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the IMPACT Group have even loftier ambitions now.

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'We've had a brilliant idea in IMPACT. We've had the idea'

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to take our group out into the community and spread the word

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of what IMPACT does.

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# Hark the herald... #

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'The plan is a flash mob in our town centre of Wigan.

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'One person will start singing a Christmas carol

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'and hopefully - fingers crossed! -

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'more and more people will begin to join in'

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and it will eventually be brilliant.

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So, can the IMPACT Group organise their own festive flash mob

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in Wigan town centre? Just wait and see.

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Up and down the country, families are busy preparing for the big day.

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But some people are facing Christmas with trepidation,

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rather than expectation.

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This year, Georgina and her mum will face their first Christmas

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without Steve, the dad who's always been at the centre of their family.

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Tell me a bit about your dad. I mean, I'm looking at him there,

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great photograph of him. What was he like?

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He was always a really happy person.

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He was so enthusiastic about things. He was never pessimistic about life.

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He always took life as it came.

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How did you find out that he had cancer?

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He was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer

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called a sarcoma which is a cancer of the soft tissue,

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and there was no cure.

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We kept trying, but we kind of knew that there wasn't really going

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to be any way to get through it.

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When he eventually did die, did you have a chance to say goodbye to him?

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Er, yeah. My mum came and asked me,

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did I want to go and say goodbye?

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Because we knew he wasn't going to last out the day.

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And just as we were leaving, the hospital rang us and told us

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to be quick because he was...he was going, and when we got there,

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he'd just gone.

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It was such a devastating moment for me, and I was crying.

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I was hugging him, I clutched him

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for about half an hour and I wouldn't let go.

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It was hard but I'd been taught well by my dad.

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My dad taught me to always get on with life

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and not to let anything stop me.

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# Think of me

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# Think of me fondly When we've said goodbye

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# Remember me every so often

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# Promise me you'll try... #

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And you were in the middle of your GCSEs at the time, weren't you?

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'My dad died on the Sunday and my next GCSE

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'was on the following Thursday,'

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which was for maths

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and I went into school the following day and my maths teacher told me,

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"You don't have to do this maths GCSE if you really don't want to."

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And I knew that my dad would've wanted me to do it.

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And I went and did it.

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# Stop and think of me. #

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-I came out with 195 out of 200 marks...

-Wow!

-..in that maths GCSE.

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Did you have a sense that you were doing it for him, in a sense?

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That was definitely the main thing that came into my head.

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And to what extent has your experience influenced the way

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that you see your own future?

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I want to be able to help other people who might be suffering

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with this kind of cancer.

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Even if it's not sarcomas, even if it's just any kind of cancer,

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so I'd like to go into a specialist area of being

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-a doctor, trained in cancer.

-What's kept you going through it all?

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'Definitely a big help has been my mum and also definitely my faith

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'because my faith has mainly come from how my dad taught me,

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'my Christian upbringing'

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and that faith in God has just really pulled me through

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and helped me to pray and helped me to get some sort of relief

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and some sort of comfort from knowing that my dad

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is still watching over me.

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# Star-Child Earth-Child

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# Go-between of God

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# Love child Christ child

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# Heaven's lightning rod

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# This year This year

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# Let the day arrive

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# When Christmas comes for everyone

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# Everyone alive... #

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# Grown child Old child

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# Memory full of years

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# Sad child Lost child

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# Story told in tears

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# This year This year

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# Let the day arrive

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# When Christmas comes for everyone

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# Everyone alive... #

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# Hope-for-peace child

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# God's stupendous sign

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# Down-to-earth child

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# Star of stars that shine

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# This year This year

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# Let the day arrive

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# When Christmas comes for everyone

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# Everyone alive. #

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ROCK MUSIC PLAYS

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The weekend's beginning for a group of Wigan's teenagers.

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# Go, go, go, go! #

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These young people are members of Two Twenty Youth,

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a church group exploring faith and forging friendships.

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-Emma's grown up with the church.

-'It's just a massive family.'

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You come and you just feel like you've come home.

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So you could've had a rubbish week, stuff's going wrong and stuff

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and you just feel totally accepted, totally at home.

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You learn more about God and passionate people

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and you just want to get to know them more.

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The group's part of Today's Community Church,

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a Christian community at the heart of Wigan. Nick joined two years ago.

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'Before I came, it always felt like I was searching for something

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'but never really getting that.'

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But now, coming to Two Twenty,

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that hole that was in my life is now made a whole.

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These kids don't just hang out with each other on a Friday night.

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The following day, they're out in Wigan High Street

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offering hugs and sweets to passers-by

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as well as a special Christmas message for the public.

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-Would you like some free sweets?

-Erm, yeah, go on, then.

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Great, brilliant. Nice one.

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I've been given a lollipop now and it says,

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"Don't just give a gift, be a gift."

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-That's brilliant, you know, that's a great ethos.

-Give of yourself.

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-Take a lolly?

-Oh, brilliant.

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I love just going out, being able to show people who God is,

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-who our church is, our youth is.

-Yeah.

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Nice to see stuff like that in the town and that,

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because the world can be an ugly place at times.

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-It's nice when people are giving free hugs. Can't do any harm, can it?

-Free sweets, lolly?

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I just think, you know, youth are so important and vital

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as part of the community. It's so important that we just keep

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being ourselves, being authentic and looking after people,

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and loving people.

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It says in the Bible that if you have faith as small as

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a mustard seed, that you can move mountains. And...mountains!

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It says in the Bible that everything's possible with God

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and I truly believe that.

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You've just got to have the faith in Him and the faith in yourself.

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# As I walked down the road at set of sun

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# The lambs were coming homeward one by one

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# I heard a sheepbell softly calling them

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# Along the little road to Bethlehem... #

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# Beside an open door as I drew nigh

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# I heard sweet Mary sing a lullaby

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# She sang about the lambs at close of day

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# And rocked her tiny King among the hay... #

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# Across the air The silver sheepbell rang

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# "The lambs are coming home," sweet Mary sang

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# "Your star of gold

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# "Your star of gold

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# "is shining in the sky

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# "So sleep, my little King

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# "Go lullaby"... #

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# As I walked down the road at set of sun

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# The lambs were coming homeward one by one

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# I heard a sheepbell softly calling them

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# Along the little road to Bethlehem. #

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As promised, the big moment has arrived for the IMPACT team

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from St Edmund Arrowsmith High School.

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Soon, these unsuspecting Wigan shoppers will be

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embroiled in a surprise singing extravaganza - hopefully!

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-Excited about today?

-Yeah, I can't wait.

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It's going to be really good.

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Even BBC Radio Manchester

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has got wind that something special's planned.

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-What about you, Joe?

-It'll be really good because the people of Wigan

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-are in for a big surprise when they found out what's in store for them.

-Ah, yes, exactly!

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A few minutes later, and the stage is set

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for brave soloist Lily and Sam on cornet.

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# Hark! The herald angels sing

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# Glory to the newborn King

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MORE BRASS AND VOICES JOIN: # Peace on earth and mercy mild

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# God and sinners reconciled

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# Joyful, all ye nations rise

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# Join the triumph of the skies

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# With the angelic host proclaim

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# Christ is born in Bethlehem

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# Hark! The herald angels sing

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# Glory to the newborn King

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# Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace

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# Hail the Son of Righteousness

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# Light and life to all He brings

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# Risen with healing in His wings

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# Mild He lays His glory by

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# Born that man no more may die

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# Born to raise the sons of earth

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# Born to give them second birth

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# Hark! The herald angels sing

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# "Glory to the newborn King. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Amazing what can be achieved with a voice, bravery and belief.

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It's been fantastic this morning down here at the Wigan Grand Arcade.

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-Were you nervous?

-Yeah, but I was more excited, if anything.

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-And did it go well, Niamh?

-I think it did, yeah. I had lots of fun.

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'Inspire us with your Holy Spirit.'

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'Move our hearts closer to you.'

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'Preserve our faith.'

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'Assist us in our weakness.'

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ALL: 'Calm us in our fears, transform us and our world.'

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It's great to hear how many young people are making a difference,

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whether through their musical talents or through

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caring for others around them.

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We've certainly got Wigan singing and hopefully you, too

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as you join in this final carol. You're bound to know it.

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Next week, join Aled for The Big Sing Top Ten Carols

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from the Royal Albert Hall.

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Star guests and an audience of 5,000 voices sing the carols

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voted as the nation's favourites.

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To see if yours is among them, tune in next week.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Sally Magnusson meets young people in Wigan on a mission to get the town singing for Christmas, and schoolchildren who are putting faith first. She introduces candlelit carols from St Oswald and St Edmund Arrowsmith RC Church, accompanied by talented young musicians.