Known across the world as the Forces Sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn provided hope and reassurance for Allied troops abroad – and families back home – during one of the UK's darkest periods in history.
Born in East London in 1917, Dame Vera's career began at just seven years old when she started singing professionally in East End working men's clubs. She spent the 1920s and 30s fronting some of the top society orchestras and captured the heart of the British public because, as she says: "I was never a glamour girl, I was the girl next door."
In 1940, she began Sincerely Yours, her own BBC radio show that was broadcast in the UK and abroad. For seven years, Dame Vera Lynn performed songs that reminded the troops of home including the songs that she will forever be associated with – We'll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover among many others.
She toured Egypt and India with the Entertainment National Services Association, after which she travelled under the auspices of the army to Burma, meeting and performing for the troops, raising smiles and morale as she went.
Her career continued to flourish after the war with hits at home and overseas, and she performed into the 1960s and 70s. In the latter half of her career she re-focused and put her efforts into raising money for charity.
In 1953 she helped form The Stars Organisation for Spastics, which raised money in support of the Spastics Society that went on to become national charity Scope, starting her link to children with cerebral palsy. Her support and commitment to them has continued with the establishment of the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity, which she heads as President.
She said: "My role as President is hugely important to me. For a family to be suddenly and unexpectedly faced with the news their child is affected by cerebral palsy is a life-altering experience. The special attention their child will need in his or her early years is woefully lacking in the public sector. The free service our charity provides is a lifeline to our families and helps to ensure their child achieves their maximum potential."
Dame Vera was recognised for her services to entertainment and charity in 2016 after being made a Member of the Order of Companions of Honour in the Queen's 90th birthday honours.
Dame Vera will be celebrating her 100th birthday in March 2017 and there are a number of events taking place to commemorate this incredible milestone. Click here to find out more.
You can contact Dame Vera via the charity by emailing email@example.com Due to the increasing volume of correspondence we receive, her family have requested those making multiple requests for autographs and/or signed photos make a donation to the charity. For more on making a donation click here.
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