GETTY • PACKSHOTDame Vera Lynn releases her new LP today
21 March, 2017, 00:33
Renowned World War II singer Vera Lynn is celebrating turning 100 today with a special tribute: her portrait is being projected onto the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
Two care homes - Silversprings in Thorrington and Haven Lodge in Clacton - are inviting people to join them on Monday to strike a chord to mark the landmark birthday of the forces' sweetheart.
Dame Vera Lynn is the first singer to release a record as a centenarian.
Who is Vera Lynn and what is her background?
She said: "Activities like this improve the wellbeing of our patients and are a welcome distraction from the hospital routine".
During her early 20s Dame Vera earned herself the name of the Forces' Sweetheart after she travelled long distances, often at great personal risk, to entertain troops and provide them with messages of hope.
She was awarded the British War Medal 1939-1945 and the Burma Star.
Remembering the moment she woke up to find four Japanese fighters prowling outside her hut, she said: "I always knew I was being very well looked after, the boys never left my side".
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Three days before her birthday, she released "Vera Lynn 100", a new album which includes old favorites set to new orchestral accompaniments.
It is thought the collection will make Lynn the first singer to have released a new album as a centenarian.
With one of her previous albums, a "best of" compilation released in 2009, Lynn became the oldest living artist to have an album reach the number one spot in United Kingdom charts.
"My wife said 'What's wrong with you?' and I couldn't begin to explain, because there's too much history".
She's also the oldest person ever to be added to a BBC Radio 2 Playlist with her cover of the Sutherland Brothers' 1972 song "Sailing".
Dame Vera said: "It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a lovely way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture".
In historian Simon Webb's book A 1960s East End Childhood, it also states: "The Kursaal also had one of the finest ballrooms in Europe - where Vera Lynn launched her career".
She has previously described the prospect of reaching 100 as "an incredible adventure of song, dance, and friendship".
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