Dame Vera Lynn's impact is still felt today, armed forces charity boss says

18 June 2020, 18:34

The boss of the Armed Forces Charity has said Dame Vera Lynn would have wanted her legacy to be for people to realise there is help and support out there for them.

Sir Andrew Gregory - CEO of the SSAFA - The Armed Forces Charity branded forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn a "legend"

His comments come after it was announced Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn died at 103

The singer, who entertained troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War, died surrounded by her close family.

Her family said in a statement they were "deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain's best-loved entertainers at the age of 103".

The SSAFA boss said she "inspired people" and helped to give people hope.

Sir Andrew said people were sad at Dame Vera's passing, but that "she would want us to look forwards and remember all the good that she did and all the good that she brought."

Shelagh asked the armed forces charity boss if the Queen knew how using "we will meet again" would chime with the public when she gave an address to the nation on coronavirus.

"Absolutely," he replied, "Her Majesty caught the mood of the nation in April, Dame Vera's words were absolutely pertinent."

He said with the coronavirus crisis, just as in the 1940s, "people are looking down quite a dark tunnel, and wondering where the light might start again."

The SSAFA boss paid tribute to the Force's Sweetheart
The SSAFA boss paid tribute to the Force's Sweetheart. Picture: LBC/PA

He told LBC coronavirus has given people "many of the same challenges" as faced by the wartime generation.

Explaining how his own charity, SSAFA was experiencing many people struggling, both financially and mentally, he said the Queen's use of Dame Vera's words were the right choice.

In a message to veterans and civilians he urged people to please "don't suffer alone, please talk to people, please remember we will get together again."

Sir Andrew said serving and former military personnel could contact SSAFA, and civilians could appeal to a number of charities.

"That is what Dame Vera would want as her legacy."