18 June 2020

Boris Johnson remembers Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘charm and magical voice’

18 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has paid tribute to Dame Vera Lynn following her death at the age of 103, saying her “charm and magical voice entranced and uplifted our country in some of our darkest hours”.

Remembering the singer known as the Forces’ Sweetheart, he said: “Her voice will live on to lift the hearts of generations to come.”

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice described Dame Vera as “one of the greatest ever British popular singers, not just because of her immaculate voice, warm, sincere, instantly recognisable and musically flawless”.

He continued: “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.”

Disney’s The Lion King European Premiere – London (PA Archive)

The Royal British Legion paid tribute to Dame Vera in a statement posted on Twitter, writing: “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.”

Actress Miriam Margolyes said: “Dame Vera never lost her reality.

“The voice like a bell was a gift, which she shared so generously and bravely.

“But the magic was that her personality was genuine, open, warm.

“Meeting her was one of the high points of my life.

“She looked at you and saw you. And connected.

“There is no one in our lives, except the Queen, who had the power to connect a nation.

“For that, she will be remembered & always with love.”

Tenor Alfie Boe, who sang with Dame Vera on a new recording of her song We’ll Meet Again, tweeted: “Rest in peace Dame Vera Lynn.

“Truly a national treasure, and this is such sad news to hear, especially at this time when her iconic song and spirit touched the nation.

“It was a real pleasure to sing with her – an honour I will treasure forever.”

Brideshead Revisited actor Anthony Andrews paid tribute saying: “Dame Vera was an indomitable, distinguished, courageous and superlative artist from a very young age. 

“An icon whose work lifted the hearts and souls of the British people and significantly contributed to victory in our darkest days.

“My father (Stanley Andrews, an arranger and conductor for the BBC) adored the purity of her voice and we still have the tear-stained music copy, as he wrote her arrangements he could hear her wonderful soaring tone.

“Personally, I will never forget the unannounced arrival of Her Majesty the Queen at the celebration of Vera’s 100th birthday at the London Palladium; a perfect and fitting tribute.

“It was the greatest joy and a privilege to have known her.”

Theatre director Roger Redfarn, who had been friends with Dame Vera since since the early 1970s and was one of her neighbours in the village of Ditchling in east Sussex, said: “The world knows of her great voice that through the good and bad times has thrilled millions.

“My own father firmly believed that the Second World War was won by Sir Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn.

“As a friend she was the warmest and kindest of people.

“I never saw her angry or say a bad word of anyone, people would stop her in the street and she always found time for them.

“She cared particularly about our armed forces, ‘her boys’ as she called them.

“Her work for charity, especially young people with cerebral palsy was tireless and inspiring.

“There will never be anyone like her again.”

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