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Editorial comment: To editor Michael Adkins Newham's Dame Vera Lynn is still the real deal

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 March 2017

Archant

Dame Vera really did have the X Factor

For years it seems the charts and route to music stardom have been dominated by the churn of X Factor and The Voice winners and, in some cases, the losers.

I found it quite boring, manufactured and just too mainstream.

Step forward Ed Sheeran whose new album Divide is dominating the charts and breaking a truckload of records along the way. He found his route to fame with sheer talent, determination and his ability to be different to everything out there.

But on Monday our thoughts will turn to a true music legend who will never fade from the nation’s affections - Dame Vera Lynn. A talented, compassionate and gracious performer whose reach could never be equalled.

Turning 100 on Monday, Dame Vera represents a time in British history when the chips were down, the country in the throes of the Second World War - a country still traumatised from the horrors of the First World War.

Most of us alive today cannot begin to imagine the task faced by the country. And who would have thought a singer whose career started in the smoke-filled working men’s clubs would go on to become a war time entertainer and national treasure - a true Forces’ Sweetheart.

In 1944 she risked her life on a trip to the Far East to boost morale amongst heroic soldiers - vowing to travel to bases where few expected her to venture. That’s what I call the X Factor.

The bravery and expertise of the British soldiers, sailors and airmen was pivitol in the war effort. Their resolve, determination and morale undoubtedly boosted by the sweet sound of Dame Vera Lynn. An extra weapon in their armoury.

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