Tributes flow for East Ham icon Dame Vera Lynn amid calls for a statue in her honour
- Credit: Ronald Grant Archive / TopFoto
As people reflect on the life and legacy of Dame Vera Lynn, discussions have begun about how the ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’ should honoured.
East Ham born and raised Dame Vera, the beloved Second World War singer whose hits include We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover and There’ll Always Be an England, passed away on June 18 aged 103.
Tributes have flowed in from the Newham community and across the country since, including calls to immortalise Dame Vera with a statue or a new bank holiday in her honour.
Former Stratford resident James Barwick said: “If ever someone from the Newham area deserved a statue, it’s Dame Vera Lynn.
“As a working class girl born and bred in East Ham who achieved so much and actively contributed to the war effort in regards to national morale - and even chose to travel to the Far East as fighting continued when she didn’t have to - I can’t think of any greater example of a person to look up to and honour.”
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He added the war memorial in Central Park, East Ham would be the most apt location.
Chris Stacey called for a new bank holiday - Dame Vera Lynn Day - so that “generations to come will remember her.”
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He said: “Not only was she a Newham and east London girl, but a great British icon.”
Dame Vera was born Vera Margaret Welch on March 20, 1917 in Thackeray Road and lived in nearby Ladysmith Avenue from 1921 to 1938.
She toured Egypt, India and Burma during the Second World War performing concerts for the troops.
East Ham MP Stephen Timms has supported calls for a statue in her honour.
He said: “Dame Vera meant so much to so many in the country’s darkest times.
“She was a pupil at Brampton Primary School – which only opened in 1915, so it was pretty new when she first attended! - and maintained an interest in the school until the end of her life.
“If I remember rightly, she last visited around the time of the school’s centenary.”
On the day of the singer’s death, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz arranged for a wreath to be laid at Vera Lynn Close in Forest Gate.
In 2017, the council installed new signs in streets with a connection to Dame Vera to mark her 100th birthday.