Just as she was so sure there would be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover, we're quite certain that there will never be another lady quite as remarkable as Dame Vera Lynn.
The Forces' sweetheart with a heart of gold who's dedicated her life to helping servicemen, as well as acting as an ambassador for many charities, we couldn't be happier to hear that 99 year old Dame Vera has now been invested as a Companion of Honour to the Queen – one of the rarest decorations around.
Dame Vera’s admission to the Order was announced in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours list, which recognised the nonagenarian old singer for her services to entertainment and charity over nearly eight decades.
The investiture took place at her home in Ditchling, West Sussex, all overseen by the Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex, Mr Peter Field, while Carola Godman Irvine, a family friend and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the county, read the citation that always accompanies such an honouring.
What is the Companion of Honour?
The Companion of Honour is a special award that was founded by George V in 1917 to celebrate those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government over an extended period.
At any one time, there are just 65 Companions of Honour throughout the Commonwealth, including the sovereign. The Queen currently has 48, featuring such national treasures as Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Hawking and Desmond Tutu. Only eight of the Companions are women.
She says, “I am truly delighted to become a Companion of Honour."
“In accepting this award, I do so in remembrance of all our wonderful brave boys who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And I am grateful for the opportunity it gives me to highlight the work of the charities I am associated with. It's a chance for me to show my admiration in particular for the children affected by cerebral palsy and the carers who support them."
Quite rightly, the honour is not the first time that Dame Vera has been recognised by the Queen. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1969 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1975.
Did you know...?
- In 1941, Vera began her own radio programme, Sincerely Yours, sending messages to British troops abroad and performing songs most requested by them, accompanied by her own quartet
- She visited hospitals to interview new mothers and send personal messages to their husbands overseas, later touring Egypt, India and Burma, giving outdoor concerts for the troops with piano accompaniment from Len Edwards
- During the Second World War, Dame Vera Lynn became a household name with classic songs We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs Of Dover and There'll Always Be An England
- In addition to her renowned entertainment career, she has also dedicated more than six decades to charity work for ex-servicemen, disabled children and breast cancer
- In 1953, she formed a cerebral palsy charity SOS and in 1976, The Vera Lynn Charity Breast Cancer Research Trust was founded
- In 2002, Dame Vera became the founder and figurehead of the cerebral palsy charity The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, based in Billingshurst, West Sussex, which provides support and education for affected families
To find out more about The Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity please visit www.dvlcc.org.uk
For more heart-warming stories, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine