Kent

Dame Vera Lynn: Calls for statue at Dover's white cliffs

A Dame Vera Lynn portrait projected onto the White Cliffs of Dover for her 100th birthday Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A portrait was projected onto the white cliffs of Dover for her 100th birthday

The daughter of Dame Vera Lynn has welcomed calls to install a statue of the Forces' Sweetheart at the white cliffs of Dover.

Virginia-Lewis Jones said it was an "amazing idea," adding that her mother "really deserves it".

The singer, best known for entertaining troops during World War Two, died on 18 June aged 103.

Lord Dannatt, former head of the British Army, also backed proposals for a memorial in Dover.

He said he believed "no-one" would oppose a statue of Dame Vera, adding that the white cliffs would make a "fantastically appropriate" setting.

"It has my vote," he added.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dame Vera backed a campaign to protect the white cliffs of Dover from future development

Dame Vera, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, was credited with lifting morale during World War Two with songs such as We'll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover.

In 2017, a campaign backed by the entertainer to buy land at the top of Dover's white cliffs reached its £1m target in under three weeks.

Her daughter said a memorial would be "absolutely fantastic," adding that she "did so much and continues to do so much for people, and children and charities".

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said the white cliffs of Dover would be the "perfect place" for a memorial to "recognise Dame Vera's immense contribution".

Image copyright National Trust/John Miller
Image caption The Forces' Sweetheart had a longstanding connection to the white cliffs of Dover

D-Day Veteran George Batts recalled the impact her music made while he was on deployment in the Far East during the 1940s.

"It really did bring you back to home," he said.

"We'd all be sitting around just listening and I'm not ashamed to say a few tears going down."

Mr Batts said that while there was "a lot of controversy about memorials now," a statue of Dame Vera was much deserved and "can never be argued against".

The National Trust, which owns and manages the cliff top, said: "No formal plans are in place at this time for a memorial, but we are considering what we might do by way of a commemoration."

Due to reduced staffing as result of Covid-19, it would be "taking some time to explore options and seek the input of partner organisations," the trust said in a statement.

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