Dame Vera Lynn celebrated her 100th birthday at her home in Sussex today (Monday March 20).
The renowned Forces’ Sweetheart marked the occasion with a tea party for family, at her home in Ditchling, which included a cake cutting ceremony and a presentation of the thousands of birthday cards, gifts and flowers which have been sent to Dame Vera from around the world.
At 11.30am, pupils from Dame Vera’s old primary school in Brampton, East Ham, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ over live video link-up, as well as a medley of her most famous songs, before Dame Vera addressed them with a thank you message.
Dame Vera said: “I am truly overwhelmed by the wonderful messages, gifts and gestures that people have made to mark this milestone occasion with me. I feel blessed to have reached 100, and I am humbled by everyone’s kindness.”
Dame Vera’s birthday has been celebrated throughout the UK and far beyond, with concerts, parties and celebrations.
A Tribute to Dame Vera Lynn was held at the London Palladium on Saturday (March 18), featuring luminaries from stage and screen. The evening was in support of The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity.
“The charity is especially close to my heart,” Dame Vera continued. “I am so delighted that the school will be benefit from the concert and other activities taking place to celebrate my birthday. Words cannot express how much all the messages mean to me, and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”
Dame Vera founded the charity in 2002 to provide support and education for families affected by cerebral palsy. It has recently expanded its range of services after moving to Cuckfield, West Sussex.
During the Second World War, Dame Vera Lynn became a household name with classic songs such as We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs Of Dover and There’ll Always Be An England.
In the year 2000, she was named the Briton who best exemplified the spirit of the 20th century.
In 2009, during the year she published her autobiography, she became, at 92, the oldest living artist to make it to No. 1 on the British Album Chart, and in 2014 she celebrated 90 years in show business.
On Friday, she became the oldest artist to release a new album, called Vera Lynn 100 through Decca Records.