Dame Vera Lynn honoured with Spitfire flypast as hundreds gather for funeral
10 July 2020, 15:12
Dame Vera Lynn's funeral was held today in her hometown village of Ditchling.
Dame Vera Lynn passed away on June 18 at the age of 103.
This afternoon, on July 10, hundreds of people filled the streets of the East Sussex village to honour the iconic singer, also known as the 'forces' sweetheart'.
Dame Vera was also honoured with a Spitfire flypast at midday, just before the funeral.
Two Spitfires passed over the village three times before being applauded by the public, who had come out in their hundreds to pay their respects to the late singer.
Following the flypast, Dame Vera's coffin, draped with a Union flag, made its way to Brighton Crematorium, where a private funeral service was held for friends and family.
As the funeral cortege slowly made its way through Ditchling, people chanted "hip hip hooray", before people broke into her most famous song, We'll Meet Again.
Speaking to the crowds that gathered, Vera's daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones said: "We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support over the past few weeks.
"My mother always appreciated receiving messages from all over the world, and Ditchling was always particularly special to her, that is why we know she would be touched that so many people want to pay their respects in the village tomorrow."
She went on: "It means so much to us to see my mother's legacy living on.
"We are sure her music will endure forever but most importantly, we hope that people will continue to support those charities that she cared about so much."
Virginia also told the crowds to follow the Government's safety guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic while they gathered to pay their respects.
The news of Vera Lynn's death devastated the nation, as her family confirmed in a statement at the time: "The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103.
"Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family."
Vera was known as the Queen's favourite singer, and is best known for songs such as We'll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover and A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
She was known as "The Forces' sweetheart" due to her immense popularity during the Second World War, when she released her iconic uplifting song We'll Meet Again.
Vera was born in East London on March 20, 1917.
Following her success with music, Vera went on to do charity work in her later life, working with organisations that helped ex-servicemen, disabled children and breast cancer.
Back in 1995, Vera sang outside Buckingham Palace in 1995 as the country marked VE Day.
Lynn was married to Harry Lewis in 1941, but her husband sadly died in 1998.
Together they had one child, Virginia Penelope Anne Lewis, who was born in 1946.