Dame Vera Lynn memorial campaign announced on first anniversary of star's death

Dame Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn died on June 18 last year at the age of 103. - Credit: Courtesy of Dame Vera Lynn's family

A fundraising appeal for a memorial statue in honour of Dame Vera Lynn has launched on the first anniversary of her death.

Tributes were paid to Dame Vera - who was born in East Ham - at an event in Dover with speeches from her daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones and son-in-law, Tom Jones.

Virginia said: "We were deeply moved by two days of special events. There was a real sense of community as we gathered on the white cliffs, which my mother always loved so dearly as they were the first and last piece of home the ‘boys’ would see during [the Second World War].

"That is why we believe the cliffs are the perfect place for her memorial. We ask anyone who can contribute to help us make this memorial happen."

There was a performance of Dame Vera's song The White Cliffs of Dover at the event, as well as tribute song Irreplaceable written by Vicki Lee, who was a friend of Dame Vera's.

Hailed as the forces' sweetheart for her morale-boosting performances in the 1939-45 conflict, Dame Vera passed away at the age of 103 on June 18 last year.

ladysmith avenue sign

Dame Vera lived in Ladysmith Avenue from 1921 to 1938. - Credit: Neandra Eitenne

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Local historian Neandra Etienne said: "The Dame Vera Lynn memorial statue is a fitting tribute. Dame Vera is already fondly remembered in Newham where she was born."

Dame Vera's image features on the Newham through the Ages wall in Pilgrim’s Way and Ladysmith Avenue, where she lived from 1921 to 1938.

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There is a close named after her in Forest Gate, and Thackeray Road - her birthplace - includes a tribute.

In total, £3million is needed to create the permanent memorial which is intended to serve as a reminder of Dame Vera’s legacy.

Decca Records, which released Dame Vera’s music for decades, kick-started the appeal with a £10,000 pledge.

Sir David Amess MP, who is championing the project, said: "I am delighted the Dame Vera Lynn statue memorial fund launch went so well. We need to raise a great deal of money so please give generously."

According to the organisers, the appeal has already been backed by music industry and show business luminaries, including Joanna Lumley, Michael Ball, Sir Tim Rice and Sir Paul McCartney.

Donations can be made via JustGiving by visiting dameveralynnmemorialstatue.co.uk

The song Irreplaceable forms part of the fundraising efforts and is available to download.

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