Lewes school choir performs at the home of Dame Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn and the choir who brought her a carol concert
Dame Vera Lynn and the choir who brought her a carol concert

A talented school choir from East Sussex have given their most exclusive concert ever to the top female-selling artist of 2017 – centenarian Dame Vera Lynn.

The Vox choir from Lewes Old Grammar School (LOGS) have performed at many prestigious events and festivals over the past few years but all agreed this was the pinnacle of their singing engagements.

Twenty-five choristers from the Lewes school, conducted by musical director Rachel Munro, visited 100 year-old Dame Vera’s Ditchling home and performed a private concert of festive music on Friday afternoon.

The programme included Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Dame Vera’s favourite carol, O Come, All Ye Faithful. Dame Vera, who doesn’t travel these days, sang along with the choir and enjoyed every moment of the 30-minute performance.

Ms Munro, who teaches singing at LOGS, said: “We know how much Dame Vera enjoys Christmas music and as she wasn’t able to attend a carol concert, we thought it would be special to take one to her.”

All the pupils knew about Dame Vera and were delighted to talk with her afterwards.

They were keen to learn about The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, which supports young children with cerebral palsy.

Fifteen-year-old pupil Yasmin O’Mahoney said: “It was such an honour to perform for the legendary Dame Vera Lynn, especially in her home with her daughter and son-in-law. She was so warm and welcoming and it is a memory that the entire choir will treasure.”

Tim Laker, the school’s Bursar, accompanied the pupils and said: “This afternoon has been such a privilege for the school and we have decided to donate the collection from our carol concert on Thursday evening to Dame Vera’s charity.

“We hope we’ll have the opportunity to visit and sing for the children’s charity sometime in the future.”

Dame Vera, widely known as The Forces’ Sweetheart during the Second World War, released the album Vera Lynn 100 in 2017, to commemorate her centennial year, and it was a number 3 hit, making her the oldest recording artist in the world and first centenarian performer to have an album in the charts.