Dame Vera Lynn: The Forces' Sweetheart turns 100


Dame Vera Lynn: The Forces' Sweetheart turns 100

Dame Vera Lynn took a trip down memory lane on her 100th birthday as pupils from her old primary school sang Happy Birthday and serenaded her with her most beloved songs.

Two care homes - Silversprings in Thorrington and Haven Lodge in Clacton - are inviting people to join them on Monday to strike a chord to mark the landmark birthday of the forces' sweetheart.

Vera Lynn singing with the troops at a London recording studio in 1991.

In 1953, she formed the cerebral palsy charity, SOS and in 1976, the Vera Lynn Charity Breast Cancer Research Trust was founded with Lynn becoming its chairperson and later its president.

It was during her early 20s that Dame Vera earned herself the title of forces' sweetheart as she travelled long distances, often at great personal risk, to entertain troops and provide them with messages of hope.

Standing beneath it at the private event will be war veterans, WWII re-enactors, 1940s singers and supporters of Dame Vera Lynn's Children's Charity.

They had one daughter, Virginia Penelope Anne Lewis, who now manages her mother's career.

It is thought the collection made Dame Vera the first singer to have released a new album as a centenarian.

Other famous songs by Dame Vera include We'll Meet Again, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square and There'll Always Be an England. Eight years ago, she became the oldest living artist to have a United Kingdom number one album.

By the 1930s she was a popular radio performer and she released her first solo record in 1936.

Dame Vera said: "It's truly humbling that people still enjoy these songs from so many years ago, reliving the emotions of that time - I was after all just doing my job as a singer - and it's so wonderful for me to hear my songs again so beautifully presented in a completely new way".

"My wife said 'What's wrong with you?' and I couldn't begin to explain, because there's too much history".

Her last public performance was in 1995, at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day that was held in front of Buckingham Palace with the Queen looking on, when crowds sang along with Lynn and waved British flags.

"I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can't think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion", she said.



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