There were celebrations across the country to mark the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn, with a dazzling London stage show, bluebirds over the cliffs of Dover, a Spitfire flypast and traditional tea parties among the festivities.
On the back of such successful birthday celebrations, the charity founded by the Forces’ Sweetheart has managed to raise in excess of £10,000 for its VERA100 campaign – enabling them to buy a ‘magic carpet’ for the children who use its services.
Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity supports under-fives with cerebral palsy and other motor learning difficulties and is expanding its services across the South East to include outreach support, Saturday and holiday clubs and a parent support network, alongside its early intervention service.
Pilar Cloud, Executive Manager of the Charity, said: “We have been privileged to be a part of a number of the wonderful celebrations of Dame Vera’s Birthday. We would like to thank all those who took part in celebratory events to mark her 100th.”
On the Saturday before her birthday, The Palladium in London played host to a glittering line up of TV, film and stage stars who took part in a spectacular variety show, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen.
Dame Vera’s famous bluebirds were installed on the White Cliffs of Dover for her actual birthday, with World War Two and Falklands veterans gathering to salute the Forces’ Sweetheart alongside re-enactors. A pair of Spitfires then flew over the Dover landmark the following day.
The Charity hosted tea parties for families, friends and supporters at their new centre in Cuckfield and at Danny House in Hurstpierpoint.
Pilar said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support given to our VERA100 campaign. Special thanks go to all those companies and community groups for their generous donations. “We would also like to thank everyone who supported us at our tea parties by way of entertainment, cakes, refreshments, photography and flowers and to our supporters, putting on their own events to raise money for us. We salute them all for their commitment to our Charity.
“Thanks to their generosity we will soon be able to offer sessions with a magic carpet, an interactive piece of equipment which will enable children to enter an exciting virtual world, engaging them in learning to do things they might not otherwise ever be able to do.”
At her home in Ditchling, Dame Vera received hundreds of cards, while dozens of nursing homes across the country came together for a joint sing-along of her famous hit We’ll Meet Again.
The Charity runs early intervention sessions for children using conductive education, a pioneering approach to physiotherapy, play and learning that gives young children the strength to help develop their motor skills.
Staff at the Charity have also issued a huge thank you to all those who took part in celebratory events to mark Dame Vera’s birthday.
Pilar added: “It’s been lovely to see people from across the UK come together to mark such a special occasion. We hope the public will continue to support Dame Vera through her centenary year and help us with our important work.
“We want to ensure that our families are not forgotten.”