Katherine Jenkins, Alan Titchmarsh and Jonathan Dimbleby were among those who paid tribute to Dame Vera Lynn at a thanksgiving service in London to celebrate the war singer’s life and work.
The service was held at Westminster Abbey on Monday, in the presence of members of her family, friends from the music world, representatives of charities she supported and members of the armed forces.
Dame Vera can look back on a 90-year career as a singer and entertainer. She died in June 2020 at the age of 103.
During the Thanksgiving service, the Royal British Legion’s central band greeted participants on arrival and played through their departure.
TV gardener Titchmarsh personally commemorated Dame Vera, while broadcaster Dimbleby reflected on the late singer’s close association with the armed forces.
Also in attendance were singer Katie Ashby and the D-Day Darlings, who performed Dame Vera’s classic The White Cliffs of Dover. Susan Fleet, the war singer’s former personal assistant, read a poem entitled Goodnight Sweetheart by Michael Claughton.
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice also gave a Bible reading from Corinthians and actor Anthony Andrews paid tribute to his late friend.
Opera singer Jenkins ended the service with an emotional rendition of “We’ll Meet Again” in an elegant light blue gown with a navy and silver headpiece, followed by the national anthem.
Famous faces also in attendance included TV and panto star Christopher Biggins, actress Bonnie Langford, TV presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin and TV star Debbie McGee.
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, Reverend Dr. David Hoyle, directed.
Dame Vera captured the hearts of the nation during World War II with her uplifting musical performances and recordings.
She later became known as “Forces’ Sweetheart” and performed in front of troops as part of the Entertainments National Service Association.
Her most popular songs embodied the spirit of wartime Britain, including “We’ll Meet Again”, “The White Cliffs Of Dover” and “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”.
The star’s successful career continued long after the war when her cover of the song My Son, My Son reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in 1954.
In 2009, at the age of 92, Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums Chart with We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.
Dame Vera also became heavily involved in charity later in her life. In particular, she campaigned for the Burma Star Association – a British veterans’ association for ex-soldiers and women who served in the Burma Campaign during World War II.
She was made a Dame in 1975 and a Companion of Honor in 2016.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/stars-pay-tribute-to-dame-vera-lynn-during-westminster-thanksgiving-service-41470626.html Stars pay tribute to Dame Vera Lynn during Thanksgiving service in Westminster