In the blog yesterday I wrote about the FA Cup Final that Dad attended. Looking inside the football programme for Saturday, 4 May 1957, we can see the Timetable of events leading up to the start of the match.
The programme on Cup Final Days today still follows the same routine, including the Community Singing. And one song that has been sung as long as I can remember is ‘Abide With Me’.
It was a favourite of my father’s and he chose it to be sung at my mother’s funeral “so we can pretend we’re at the football and think about that”.
They must have sung it at Wembley when Dad went to see Aston Villa beat Manchester United 2-1 in 1957, because they had sung it every year since 1927 according to the history books.
The song was written around 1847 by Henry Francis Lyte.
The song became popular in the trenches of the First World War, and was sung by nurse Edith Cavell the night before the Germans shot her for helping British soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium. My cousin Sue has a collection of four postcards depicting images and the words to four of the verses of this song, from World War 1.
Edith Cavell was a very inspirational lady, and you can find out more about her here.
2015 is the centenary of Edith’s death, there are many commemorative events planned, you can find details on the website above.
“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail; and comforts flee, help of the helpless, O Abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou who changest not, Abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour; What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be? Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, Abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy Cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
Heaven’s morning breaks, and Earth’s vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, Abide with me.”