Hundreds line streets to say goodbye as Dame Vera Lynn’s funeral takes place
PUBLISHED: 13:10 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 10 July 2020
Hundreds of people have turned out to pay their respects to Dame Vera Lynn.
The singer, who entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War, died aged 103 on June 18.
She was born and raised in East Ham and lived in Upney Lane, Barking during the Second World War, but spent the later part of her life living in Ditchling, East Sussex.
Crowds lined the village’s streets as the funeral cortege passed through on Friday, July 10, with her coffin accompanied by three members of the Armed Forces.
Representatives from the Royal British Legion were among those gathered, while a poppy wreath and a flag with ‘Dame Vera RIP’ written on it were placed at the Ditchling war memorial.
Two Second World War fighter planes soared over the village as a tribute before the singer’s coffin was driven to Brighton for a private funeral.
As the funeral cortege made its way out of the village where Dame Vera lived for 60 years, there were shouts of “hip hip hooray” from the crowd, followed by a spontaneous rendition of her song We’ll Meet Again.
Among those to travel to bid a final farewell to Dame Vera was Second World War re-enactor Steve George.
The 59-year-old, from Crawley, West Sussex, how he met her at a re-enactment in a marquee surrounded by veterans.
He said: “We had a group photograph with Dame Vera, we were all gathered round her dressed as the different generals.
“She was wonderful, absolutely wonderful, she had time for everybody.”
Avril Gaynor first met Dame Vera as a 10-year-old after becoming friends with her daughter Virginia.
She said: “It’s so sad but I am glad she is getting a big send-off - to put it mildly.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful lady and I am so pleased that so many people want to come to pay tribute to her.”
Avril added: “I loved going to her house. She could take us through the Burma campaign and I thought it was wonderful.”
Virginia Lewis-Jones, Dame Vera’s daughter, thanked well-wishers for their “tremendous support”.
She said: “My mother always appreciated receiving messages from all over the world. We know she would be touched that so many people want to pay their respects.”
A full memorial service for Dame Vera is set to be held at a later date.
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