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Songs of Praise filmed in Sheppey

By John Nurden

Classical superstar Aled Jones will be singing the praises of Sheppey this Sunday.

The 48-year-old Welsh singer and TV presenter who scored a top five hit with Walking In The Air as a 14-year-old chorister, spent a day exploring Minster and Blue Town last year with a BBC film crew.

He visited the Criterion Theatre and Blue Town Heritage Centre where he met owner Jenny Hurkett and bumped into fellow broadcaster the Rev Cindy Kent, the former lead singer of the Settlers pop group, at her cliff-top home in Minster.

Aled Jones and Rev Cindy
Aled Jones and Rev Cindy

He also spent time at the Oasis Academy’s award-winning dementia cafe at its Minster campus.

During a break in filming Aled, who was making his first visit to Sheppey, said: “I’ve known Cindy for years.

“She talked a lot about the community and how everyone looks out for one another.

"It made me think of Anglesey, where I’m from, which is also an island where everyone tends to do the same thing.”

He added: “I had a wonderful experience with Jenny at the Criterion Theatre. It was absolutely stunning.

“It is fantastic what they have done with volunteers lending items found in their attics.

JB Gill at Sheerness County Youth Club
JB Gill at Sheerness County Youth Club

“It really made we want to be on stage and sing again but she wouldn’t let me.”

He went on: “Jenny knows so much about the Island and its history. I learned an awful lot.

“I had no idea about Lord Nelson’s connection. It was fascinating.”

He said the dementia cafe was “mind-blowing,” adding the way young people interact with the elderly was humbling.

“The smiles on the old ladies’ faces as they watched pupils sing and dance said it all. It was something else. Maybe it should be a blueprint taken up in all schools?”

  • Songs of Praise is on BBC1 on Sunday at 1.15pm.

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