Cliff Richard, Katherine Jenkins and Miriam Margolyes among celebrities to pay tribute to Dame Vera Lynn

Tributes have poured in for Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn who has died at the age of 103.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 1:42 pm

The national treasure who boosted the nation’s morale during the darkest days of World War Two passed away earlier today (June 18), surrounded by her close family.

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Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103
Dame Vera Lynn at the Memorial Cheese Drop over the RAFA Care home in Storrington. Photo by Steve Goodger

Among people who have paid tribute to her include celebrities Sir Cliff Richard, Katherine Jenkins and Miriam Margolyes.

Dame Vera Lynn at Care for Veterans Gifford House open day in Worthing. Photo by Gerald Thompson

Sir Cliff Richard said: “Dame Vera Lynn was truly an Icon. She was held in such high esteem and my best, and favourite, memory was sharing a performance with her in front of Buckingham Palace for the VE Day celebrations in 1995.

“We walked to the stage through a crowd of survivors of that war, and they were reaching out to touch and get a smile from Vera. I heard the words....”God bless you... thank you... we love you” for their very own Forces Sweetheart !

“A great singer, a patriotic woman and a genuine Icon. I am happy to use the words called out on the wonderful day “Vera, thank you, God bless you, and I loved you too” REST IN A VERY DESERVED PEACE.”

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins described Dame Vera as a ‘wonderful lady’ who was her mentor and friend: “I simply cannot find the words to explain just how much I adored this wonderful lady. Her voice brought comfort to millions in their darkest hours, her songs filled the nation’s hearts with hope, and her emotive performances, whether home or abroad, then or now, helped to get us through.

Dame Vera Lynn's 90th birthday at The School for Parents in Five Oaks. With Joshua Mills, aged 2, and his father Paul. Picture: Derek Martin Photography

“It was she who chose the sentiments of her songs – she knew instinctively what people needed to hear, how to rally the morale and her spirit and strength created the soundtrack of a generation.

“There will never be another Dame Vera Lynn. Forces Sweetheart and our sweetheart. An icon. A legend. An inspiration. My mentor and my friend. I will miss you greatly and I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”

Actress Miriam Margolyes commented: “Dame Vera never lost her reality. The voice like a bell was a gift, which she shared so generously and bravely. But the magic was that her personality was genuine, open, warm. Meeting her was one of the high points of my life.

“She looked at you and SAW you. And connected. There is no one in our lives, except The Queen, who had the power to connect a nation. For that, she will be remembered and always with love.”

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice described Dame Vera as ‘one of the greatest ever British popular singers’, adding: “Not just because of her immaculate voice, warm, sincere, instantly recognisable and musically flawless.”

He said she will be remembered just as affectionately for her vital work in the Second World War and for her own Charitable Foundations in the 75 years since.

He added: “A link with more certain times has been irrevocably broken.”

ITV’s Brideshead Revisited actor Anthony Andrews said it was the ‘greatest joy privilege to have known her’.

“Dame Vera was an indomitable, distinguished, courageous and superlative artist from a very young age,” he said.

“An icon whose work lifted the hearts and souls of the British people and significantly contributed to Victory in our darkest days.

“My father adored the purity of her voice and we still have the tear stained music copy, as he wrote her arrangements he could hear her wonderful soaring tone.

“Personally, I will never forget the unannounced arrival of her Majesty the Queen at the celebration of Vera’s 100th Birthday at the London Palladium; a perfect and fitting tribute.”

Dear friend and theatre director Roger Redfarn said Dame Vera’s work for charity, especially young people with cerebral palsy, was ‘tireless and inspiring’.

“Dame Vera has been a dear friend since the early 1970’s and for many years a neighbour in the village of Ditchling,” he said.

“The world knows of her great voice that through the good and bad times has thrilled millions.

“My own father firmly believed that the Second World War was won by Sir Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn.

“As a friend she was the warmest and kindest of people, I never saw her angry or say a bad word of anyone, people would stop her in the street and she always found time for them.

“She cared particularly about our armed forces, ‘her boys’ as she called them. There will never be anyone like her again.”

Broadcaster Piers Morgan tweeted: “Oh no.... what terribly sad news. Dame Vera Lynn has died, aged 103. A magnificent woman who rallied our country when we most needed it. The Forces sweetheart. The Nation’s sweetheart. RIP.”

West End’s Michael Ball said Dame Vera’s talent was ‘so very rare and special’, adding that her service to this country is an inspiration to us all and we shall never see her like again.’.

Pilar Cloud, executive manager of Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, paid tribute to a ‘passionate and wonderful ambassador for the charity’, adding: “We have been extremely honoured to have had Dame Vera Lynn as our President. She has always been hands on, enjoying participating in sessions, singing songs with the children and setting the tone with real determination to ensure that ‘her families’ were never forgotten.

“She is very fondly regarded by all of the staff and families, and will be greatly missed by so many people.”