AS Northern Ireland and the wider world prepares to commemorate the centenary of Titanic, Songs Of Praise visits Belfast ahead of the Titanic Festival to reflect on the world’s most famous ocean liner, those who lost their lives and the legacy that survives today.
In this special programme which airs on BBC One on Sunday, March 11 at 5.10pm, the Reverend Chris Bennett, Chaplain to the Titanic Quarter, shares his knowledge on faith within the shipyard at the turn of the century and his drive to establish a new faith community within this historic area.
Ninety-six-year-old Eleanor Thompson shares memories of her late father, a senior draughtsman from the Titanic who escaped the fate of many of his colleagues on board the ship.
BBC Northern Ireland journalist Mike McKimm is the first man from Northern Ireland to have visited Titanic since it left Belfast 100 years ago. He shares the memories of the moment he visited the underwater grave that is the wreck of the ship and the moment he laid a plaque on the hull of Titanic from the people of Belfast to those who lost their lives.
And, of course, the programme will feature well known songs of worship. Popular singer Brian Houston (a former Harland and Wolff employee) returns to the Harland and Wolff drawing offices and gives a very special performance of Precious Lord. Meanwhile, in another location within the same building, the Celtic Tenors perform Remember Me, a piece of music composed by Phil Coulter.
The congregational elements of the programme are filmed at St Thomas’s Church, Lisburn Road, Belfast, which backs on to the marital home of Titanic designer Thomas Andrews.
All the hymns have resonance with the Titanic theme and have been specially selected. These include: Eternal Father Strong to Save; Lead Us Heavenly Father, Lead Us; Nearer My God To Thee; Faithful One So Unchanging and Abide With Me. The closing benediction is given by Canon Walter Lewis on the theme of achievement and pride.
Other locations include Titanic Belfast, the general shipyard area and Thomas Andrews’ marital home.
The programme is presented by regular Songs Of Praise host Eamonn Holmes, a lifelong Titanic enthusiast.
Songs Of Praise, BBC One, Sunday, March 11 at 5.10pm