Stars pay tribute to Dame Vera Lynn during Westminster thanksgiving service

The wartime singer had a highly successful career spanning more than 90 years.

21 March 2022

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 life and work of the wartime singer.

The service was held at Westminster Abbey on Monday with members of her family, friends from the world of music, representatives from charities she supported and members of the Armed Forces in attendance.

Dame Vera had a celebrated career as a singer and entertainer spanning more than 90 years. She died in June 2020 at the age of 103.

Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Vera Lynn
Alan Titchmarsh speaks during the Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Vera Lynn (Yui Mok/PA)

During the thanksgiving service, the central band of the Royal British Legion greeted attendees on arrival and played out their departure.

TV gardener Titchmarsh gave a personal remembrance to Dame Vera while broadcaster Dimbleby reflected on the late singer’s close connection with the Armed Forces.

Also among the performers were singer Katie Ashby and the D-Day Darlings who performed Dame Vera’s classic The White Cliffs of Dover. The wartime singer’s former personal assistant Susan Fleet read a poem titled Goodnight Sweetheart by Michael Claughton.

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice also gave a bible reading from Corinthians and actor Anthony Andrews delivered a tribute to his late friend.

Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Vera Lynn
Katherine Jenkins performs We’ll Meet Again during the memorial service. (Yui Mok/PA)

Operatic singer Jenkins closed the service by giving an emotional rendition of We’ll Meet Again in an elegant light blue dress with a navy and silver headpiece, which was 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, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle.

Dame Vera captured the hearts of the nation during the Second World War with her uplifting musical performances and recordings.

She subsequently became known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart”, giving performances to troops as part of the Entertainments National Service Association.

Her most popular songs encapsulated the spirit of Britain during wartime and included We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs Of Dover and A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.

Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Vera Lynn
The thanksgiving service celebrated the life and work of the late Dame Vera Lynn (Yui Mok/PA)

The star’s successful career continued long after the war, with her cover of the song My Son, My Son reaching number one on the UK single charts in 1954.

In 2009, at the age of 92, Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to top the UK’s album chart with We’ll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.

Dame Vera also became heavily involved with charity work later in her life. In particular, she campaigned for the Burma Star Association – a British veterans’ association for ex-servicemen and women who served in the Burma Campaign during the Second World War.

She was made a Dame in 1975 and a Companion of Honour in 2016.

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