The event, hosted at Maison Dieu in Dover, paid tribute to Dame Vera’s enduring legacy, with speeches from Sir David Amess (chairman of the committee and the leading light in the
campaign); her daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones and son-in-law, Tom Jones; as well as esteemed sculptor Paul Day; Natalie Elphicke MP; and the Leader of Dover District Council, councillor Trevor Bartlett.
With emotions running high, there was a special performance of ‘Irreplaceable’ and ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ performed by Katie Ashby of the D-Day Darlings and award-winning musician Dominic Ferris.
An mp3 of ‘Irreplaceable’, written by New Zealand musician and friend of Dame Vera, Vicki Lee, is now available for download, with all proceeds to the memorial statue, at www.dameveralynnmemorialstatue.co.ukIn total, £3m is needed to create a permanent memorial for Dame Vera, who lived in Ditchling.
The plan is for the memorial to be erected in a special place on the Western Heights of the famous white cliffs and is intended to serve as a reminder of Dame Vera’s enduring legacy for future generations.
Decca Records, who released Dame Vera’s music for decades, kick-started the appeal with a £10,000 cheque.
Tom Lewis, managing director, presented the cheque and paid tribute to Dame Vera’s everlasting appeal.
Virginia, who is a trustee of the newly created Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Statue charity, said: “We were deeply moved by two days of special events.
“There was a real sense of community as we gathered on the white cliffs, which my mother always loved so dearly as they were the first and last piece of home the ‘boys’ would see during WW2.
"That is why we believe the cliffs are the perfect place for her memorial.
“The launch was a joyous occasion and we have been really overwhelmed by the generous response over the weekend.
"We ask anyone who can contribute to help us make thismemorial happen.”
Sir David Amess MP, who has been instrumental in championing the initiative, said: ”I am delighted that the Dame Vera Lynn Statue Memorial Fund launch went so well. We need to
raise a great deal of money so please give generously."
The Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Statue appeal has already been supported by a long list of musical and show business luminaries, including Joanna Lumley, Michael Ball, Sir Tim Rice
and Sir Paul McCartney.
Donations to the fund can be made via JustGiving by visiting www.dameveralynnmemorialstatue.co.uk