Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Culture | By Ray Hoffman

Dame Vera Lynn's secrets for a long life as she turns 100

Dame Vera Lynn's secrets for a long life as she turns 100

Her new album, Vera Lynn 100, has shot into the charts at number 3, one place ahead of Toronto star Drake's More Life, according to the Official Charts Company midweek update.

She also now holds the record for being the oldest living artist to get a top 20 United Kingdom album.

The British singer was famous during the Second World War for giving performances to troops stationed in Egypt, India, and Burma as part of ENSA and was dubbed the "Forces' Sweetheart".

Speaking from her home in Ditchling, East Sussex, she thanked the starstruck students and recalled her "very good memories" at the school.

Born on March 20, 1917 in East Ham, Vera was singing in public before her eighth birthday, and would impress the crowds with rousing renditions of classics.

Lynn, the daughter of a plumber and a dressmaker, started her singing career as a child, performing in working men's clubs.

There were no bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover as Dame Vera Lynn turned 100 today, but they received a makeover of a different kind.

The care home, joined by friends and family on March 20, celebrated the milestone birthday of "The Forces Sweetheart". with a slice of birthday cake and a tuneful rendition of Vera's popular war-time song "We'll Meet Again".

The landmark - the last sight of Britain for soldiers heading off to war and the first for those who returned - was immortalised by Dame Vera in a song that evokes the spirit of 1940s Britain even in people too young to remember.

Films she has appeared in include: We'll Meet Again (1943), Rhythm Serenade (1943), One Exciting Night (1944) and Meet Again (2014) How old is Dame Vera Lynn? During the height of the war, she was given her own radio show in which she sent messages to British soldiers serving overseas.

"I wonder if she ever heard me on the radio after that".

"I feel blessed to have reached 100, and I am humbled by everyone's kindness".

The Queen, who during World War Two learned to be a driver and a mechanic while serving in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, sent a 100th birthday message to Lynn.

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