Sussex

Dame Vera Lynn 'surprised' by Queen's Birthday Honours accolade

Dame Vera Lynn in 2010 at a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in central London Image copyright AP
Image caption Dame Vera, 99, has been made a made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour

Dame Vera Lynn has been recognised for services to entertainment and charity in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Dame Vera, 99, became known as the Forces Sweetheart for entertaining the troops during World War Two.

One of her best-known songs, The White Cliffs Of Dover, featured in a list of the Queen's favourite pieces of music, released earlier this week.

Despite this, Dame Vera, who lives in Sussex, said she "never expected" this accolade and was "greatly honoured".

She has been made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to entertainment and charity.

Dame Vera said: "I was very surprised... I felt very greatly honoured to be given a Damehood and never expected to receive anything else.

"So for Her Majesty to bestow a further accolade on me is very unexpected and I feel even more honoured."

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Vera Lynn, pictured in 1945, was known for the popular song We'll Meet Again

In her 20s, Vera Lynn played a huge role in keeping British spirits up during the Blitz. She travelled thousands of miles, often at great personal risk, to entertain troops.

Her hits included We'll Meet Again, I'll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings.

In 1941, she was given a BBC radio programme, Sincerely Yours, with a peak-time evening audience.

After the war she retired from the stage to bring up her daughter, Virginia, at their home in Ditchling, Sussex, but remained in demand across the world.

Dame Vera once said: "I have never been terribly ambitious. I never wanted to be a Judy Garland.

"If work came along I liked, I would do it. If it interfered with home life for too long or took me away, I wouldn't."

Her accolades include an OBE in 1969, a DBE in 1975, and in 1978 she was given the Freedom of the City of London.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Vera Lynn travelled thousands of miles during the war, often at great personal risk, to entertain the troops

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