Dame Vera celebration

Lorrie Brown takes to the road in Sincerely Yours '“ The Vera Lynn Story to commemorate Dame Vera's 100th birthday this year.

Dame Vera and Lorrie
Dame Vera and Lorrie

Dame Vera celebrated her centenary in March – and now Lorrie is making sure that the memories keep on flowing.

She will be in action on Friday, May 5 at 2pm at Bognor’s Regis Centre and also at the Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead on June 29.

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“We have got a seven-piece band and me,” says Lorrie. “We are covering the story before she became the Forces Sweetheart.

“We are going right from when she was a big-band singer, doing the big-band stuff in the first half, and then in the second half we are doing an ENSA show in uniform.”

The Entertainments National Service Association or ENSA was an organisation set up in 1939 by Basil Dean and Leslie Henson to provide entertainment for British armed forces personnel during World War Two.

Lorrie added: “The show is actually new for this year. We started it in March. We have been doing a 1940s show for four years with the music of Vera Lynn, Gracie Fields, the Andrews Sisters and so on, and now this one is just me doing Dame Vera’s music. We have got projection screens. We have got film clips. It’s really her life story.

“I went to meet her last year, and she was lovely. I ust can’t tell you how lovely she was. We spent three hours together, and she said ‘Thank you for keeping the music going.’

“At the end, she said ‘What can I do for you?’, and I said it would be lovely if she would record a message for me which I can play in the show for when I do the songs.

“She did it, and it is lovely. It’s really special.

“She is so down to earth. I can’t tell you how normal she was and how lovely she was with me. Sometimes when you have been a tribute to someone for a while, they might take it the wrong way, but she was so lovely, saying how pleased she was that I was keeping the music going. I was thrilled to bits.

“I was really nervous before meeting her. You don’t often get the chance to meet the person you have been talking about for so long!

“Before the war, everyone just loved her, but during the war she became mega-important.

“ She entertained the troops and it brought them a bit of home to wherever she was. It made them feel connected to their own lives and their own homes.

“She was saying she used to entertain the troops in Burma. They used to jump in and out of the jungle. They would come out of the jungle to listen to her, and then they would jump back into the jungle to fight again.

“You think of their courage. And you also think of her courage, going all that way to entertain them.”

More details on www.veralynntribute.eu.

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