Dame Vera Lynn receives Queen's honour for eight decades of service in ceremony at her home
28 July 2016 • 10:19am
Dame Vera Lynn, the Forces' sweetheart, has received her latest honour from the Queen in an investiture ceremony held at her village home.
She could not make it to Buckingham Palace and received the accolade - for nearly eight decades of service to entertainment and charity - at an investiture ceremony at her home in Ditchling, near Brighton, on Wednesday.
Dame Vera, who turns 100 next March, said she was "truly delighted" to be made a Companion of Honour.
She said: "In accepting this award, I do so in remembrance of all our wonderful brave boys who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and also in honour of all the children affected by cerebral palsy."
Led by Peter Field, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, family friend Carola Godman Irvine, who is the county's deputy lord lieutenant, read the citation which saluted Dame Vera for being "the voice of hope" during the Second World War.
In her 20s, Dame Vera played a huge role in keeping up the spirits of a British civilian population suffering under 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 handed her own regular radio programme, Sincerely Yours, giving her a peak-time evening audience.
When the war was over she retired from the stage and microphone to bring up her daughter, Virginia, at their home in Sussex, but she remained in demand.
She toured throughout the world, visiting the US, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Dame Vera once said: "I have never been terribly ambitious. I never wanted to be a Judy Garland or anything, and I wouldn't change the way I used to sing.
"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."
In 2002, she founded cerebral palsy charity the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity, based in Billingshurst, West Sussex, which provides support and education for affected families.
She is involved with many other charities throughout the UK and beyond. She has received accolades throughout her life, including an OBE in 1969, a DBE in 1975, and in 1978 she was given the Freedom of the City of London.