Found – this newscutting from The Times (London 1926) about the origins of the much loved hymn ‘Abide with me’ by Henry Francis Lyte. The reference to Wembley Stadium is slightly obscure as Wikipedia says the hymn was first sung there in 1927 at the cup final…
AN ANSWERED PRAYER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE TIMES.
Sir, – As one of the few living descendants of the author of the hymn “Abide with Me,” which nightly thrills the great audience in the Wembley Stadium, I have been greatly interested in the correspondence in ‘The Times’. It is only those who know the tragic circumstances under which this beautiful hymn was written who can explain the inner meaning of the words “Fast falls the eventide.”
My great-grandfather, the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte, the author of the hymn, was vicar of Lower Brixham, in those days a picturesque little fishing village on the shores of Torbay. He was the author of numerous poems and hymns, some of which are in “Hymns Ancient and Modern.” During the latter part of his life he devoted himself to the service of the humble fisher folk of Brixham, among whom were many of his best friends. His labours undermined his health, but he persisted in his noble work until his health broke down completely under the strain and his doctor told him he must go abroad at once. He was then dying of consumption. He preached his farewell sermon the following Sunday evening in Lower Brixham Church and, after the service, walked slowly home to his house at Berry Head. It happened that on that night there was one of those glorious sunsets which are sometimes to be seen at Torbay. The sun was setting in a blaze of glory and the purple hills of distant Dartmoor stood out darkly against a flaming sky. In the foreground was Brixham harbour like a pool of molten gold. Several times on the way home the poet stopped to rest and to gaze on this wonderful manifestation of nature. We can well imagine his feelings. He had just said “Goodbye” for the last time to his parishioners, and he knew that he had only a few weeks at most to live. The setting day reminded him insistently of his life, which was drawing swiftly to its close. Continue reading