Dame Vera Lynn is 100 today

Black background with image of Dame Vera Lynn and the words #VeraLynn100
A screengrab from the Dame Vera Lynn video that will be screened on the White Cliffs of Dover this evening

White Cliffs of Dover will feature giant image of wartime sweetheart as Spitfires fly overhead

Dame Vera Lynn is 100 today and her centenary is being marked in iconic style with a 350ft image projected on to the White Cliffs of Dover in a special tribute.

Called the Forces’ Sweetheart in the Second World War for her inspirational singing, Dame Vera stole the wartime generation’s hearts with songs such as (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

The Dover tribute will also feature purpose-built giant bluebirds as a backdrop for the image and a pair of wartime Spitfires will perform a flypast over the cliffs at the National Trust’s South Foreland Lighthouse.

It also marks the release of her new album, called Vera Lynn 100, which features re-orchestrated versions of her best-known music, plus a surprise find of a previously-unknown recording of Sailing, the song made famous by Rod Stewart.

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.

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She is already the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and her recording company, Decca, hopes she will extend that record with the new album.

Poor weather today means that this evening’s spectacle will not be visible from France. The event comes just two days after a celebration musical evening in the London Palladium, with all proceeds going to her children’s charity.

Dame Vera told the Press Association: "As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys - the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home.

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

The March issue of Connexion has an exclusive interview with Dame Vera where she talks about her times in France and the meaning behind some of her lyrics. You can buy a pdf copy here.

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