Dame Vera Lynn, who died aged 103 last month, will be laid to rest at a private service in Sussex today.
Our Forces’ Sweetheart will be honoured with a flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane at midday; a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to supporting the military and whose passing feels like a personal loss to the whole Nation.
Travelling to perform for Allied soldiers in Egypt, India and Burma, Dame Vera offered an antidote to the hardship of war. Her song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ is synonymous with the Second World War, but has stood the test of time to become a national favourite. With its underlying message of hope, during these testing times of the Covid-19 pandemic – 75 years after WWII – it has once again served as a tonic in times of strife. Her Majesty The Queen even made reference to it as she addressed the nation on 5 April 2020 in her televised speech.
Dame Vera’s regular presence at our events brought immeasurable joy to our veterans, whom she always affectionately referred to as ‘my boys’. Her link with The Not Forgotten had been steadfast since WWII and we consider it a great honour to have been a charity she loved and cared for. Just last month, Dame Vera wrote us a letter to commemorate VE Day and voice her support for our work and veterans. James Stopford, our Chief Executive, read this letter out during our special VE Day episode of The Best Seat in the House.
In 2000 Dame Vera was named as the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th Century. A cross-generational icon, known for her generosity, kindness and good humour, she will be greatly missed but she will certainly never be forgotten.