Katherine Jenkins and Captain Tom Moore lead tributes to Dame Vera Lynn

18 June 2020, 10:46 | Updated: 18 June 2020, 11:01

By Asher McShane

Singer Katherine Jenkins has led the nation in tribute after the death of the 'Forces' Sweetheart' entertainer Dame Vera Lynn.

Katherine said in tribute today: "I simply cannot find the words to explain just how much I adored this wonderful lady.

"Her voice brought comfort to millions in their darkest hours, her songs filled the nation's hearts with hope, and her emotive performances, whether home or abroad, then or now, helped to get us through.

"It was she who chose the sentiments of her songs - she knew instinctively what people needed to hear, how to rally the morale and her spirit and strength created the soundtrack of a generation.

Katherine sang a moving duet version of Dame Vera's song We'll Meet Again to an empty Royal Albert Hall as part of the UK's recent VE Day celebrations.

Dame Vera Lynn died at the age of 103, her family said
Dame Vera Lynn died at the age of 103, her family said. Picture: PA

"There will never be another Dame Vera Lynn. Forces' Sweetheart and our sweetheart. An icon. A legend. An inspiration. My mentor and my friend. I will miss you greatly and I know we'll meet again some sunny day."

Words of comfort flooded in for the We'll Meet Again and White Cliffs of Dover singer Dame Vera from the worlds of entertainment and politics with thousands sharing messages of condolence after her death aged 103.

A statement said: "The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers at the age of 103.

"Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family."

Sir Cliff Richard paid tribute to Dame Vera, saying: "Dame Vera Lynn was truly an icon. She was held in such high esteem and my best, and favourite, memory was sharing a performance with her in front of Buckingham Palace for the VE Day celebrations in 1995.

"We walked to the stage through a crowd of survivors of that war, and they were reaching out to touch and get a smile from Vera.

"I heard the words ... 'God bless you' ... 'Thank you' ... 'We love you' for their very own Forces' Sweetheart! A great singer, a patriotic woman and a genuine icon.

"I am happy to use the words called out on the wonderful day. Vera, thank you, God bless you, and I loved you too.

"Rest in a very deserved peace."

Sir Tim Rice said: "Dame Vera Lynn was one of the greatest ever British popular singers, not just because of her immaculate voice, warm, sincere, instantly recognisable and musically flawless.

"She will be remembered just as affectionately for her vital work in the Second World War and for her own Charitable Foundations in the 75 years since. A link with more certain times has been irrevocably broken."

The Royal British Legion paid tribute to Dame Vera in a statement posted on Twitter.

"We are incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Dame Vera Lynn, an unforgettable British icon, symbol of hope to the Armed Forces community past and present, and much loved longstanding Legion supporter.

"Our thoughts are with her loved ones."

A message posted on NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore's official Twitter account said: "A real shame, I really thought Vera Lynn would live longer she's been speaking so well on TV recently. She had a huge impact on me in Burma and remained important to me throughout my life. My thoughts are with Dame Vera Lynn's family at this sad time".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said her "charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours. Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come".

Sir Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, tweeted: "Vera Lynn was a national symbol in the 1940s and again in 2020, a totally unique legacy.

"She has given millions of people and several generations strength to see through traumatic times. My thoughts today are with her friends and family."

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