Two original 1944 Spitfires flew over the South Foreland Lighthouse in Dover yesterday (Tuesday March 21) in celebration of Forces’ Sweetheart and Sussex resident Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday.
The delayed flight, postponed from Monday’s official celebrations due to poor weather conditions, took place at 10.30am and the thundering sounds of the Spitfires boomed overhead.
The fitting tribute saw the Vickers Supermarine Mk 9 Spitfires (which flew from Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar) fly above three huge blue birds as immortalised by Dame Vera in the iconic and fiercely optimistic lyrics of The White Cliffs of Dover.
The stunt was the final instalment of the celebrations for Dame Vera, which included a star-studded variety show at the London Palladium in front of Her Majesty The Queen and a party on the cliffs with war veterans, World War II re-enactors, and 1940s singers.
All activities were not only held to mark her 100th birthday, but to help put the spotlight on and raise money for her legacy - the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, which supports children under 5 with cerebral palsy and other motor learning difficulties a cause that Dame Vera has been part of since 1955!
Dame Vera Lynn said: “To have reached my hundredth year is in itself an achievement - with all the many memories that one collects over the years, the different places and the wonderful people one meets and the many, many fans from across the world who have supported me.
“I can’t believe everyone went to so much trouble to wish me a happy birthday – I feel incredibly humbled by it all but most of all I am delighted that it is helping to raise vital funds for my charity.”
Pilar Cloud, Executive Manager at the Dame Vera Lynn’s Children’s Charity, added: “Dame Vera is such a special lady who has spent her life helping others. From keeping the troops’ spirits up during the war to the work she continues to do today, helping families of young children with cerebral palsy, her efforts for others are never-ending.two original 1944 Spitfires flew over the South Foreland Lighthouse in celebration of our incomparable Forces’ Sweetheart’s Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday.
“It’s typical of her that for her special birthday Dame Vera is asking for charity donations rather than gifts for herself – it was her selfless actions that first captured a nation’s heart seventy years ago and continue to do so today.”
To make a donation to the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity please visit www.dvlcc.org.uk/donations