Wednesday, 26 July, 2017

Happy 100th Birthday, Dame Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn GETTY • PACKSHOTDame Vera Lynn releases her new LP today
Elaine Woods | 21 March, 2017, 00:35

She continued to sing and appear on television after her return from Burma, eventually becoming the first British artist to make number one in America.

Three days before her birthday, she released "Vera Lynn 100", a new album which includes old favorites set to new orchestral accompaniments.

PATIENTS at Basildon Hospital were invited to a tea party this morning to celebrate the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn.

Wearing a seasonal floral cardigan and speaking via Skype from her home in Ditchling, East Sussex, she thanked the starstruck students and recalled her "very good memories" at the school.

But the 40mph winds did not deter veterans, re-enactors and the Singing Sweethearts serenading Dame Vera as they sang Happy Birthday.

Born Vera Welch on March 20, 1917 in East Ham, east London, she has had a singing career spanning 93 years as she made her stage debut at the age of seven.

Although the planned Spitfire fly-past over the Dover cliffs wasn't possible, supporters of the Dame Vera Lynn's Children's Charity did fearless the wind for a birthday party atop the cliffs.

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The white cliffs of Dover, which she sang about in the eponymous song, were lit up with a 350ft projection of the singer's face, along with the words "Happy Birthday Dame Vera Lynn" and "Celebrating 100 years of a national treasure".

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.

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

Dame Vera said: "It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a lovely way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture".

Vera has also devoted much of her time to charity work, helping ex-servicemen, disabled children, and breast cancer What is Dame Vera Lynn famous for?

"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.

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ken Clark, who leads the scheme, said: "We are delighted to be able to honour one of our most loved former residents in this way on her 100th birthday".

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