Dame Vera Lynn at 100: Spitfires over White Cliffs of Dover delayed for 24 hours due to wet and windy weather

PUBLISHED: 16:33 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:33 20 March 2017

Salute at South Foreland. Pic: PA/Gareth Fuller

Salute at South Foreland. Pic: PA/Gareth Fuller


Weather permitting, the fly-past should now take place at 10.30am on Tuesday

Dame Vera Lynn on the White Cliffs Dame Vera Lynn on the White Cliffs

A planned display of Spitfires over the White Cliffs of Dover will now take place on Tuesday after bad weather put paid to hopes of staging it to mark the 100th birthday of Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn.

In addition, a number of huge bluebird models that were going to be erected on the cliff edge had to lay down instead due to the high winds.

However, the wet and windy weather failed to dampen the enthusiasm as Kent paid a special tribute to Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th birthday on Monday.

Dame Vera immortalised the white cliffs in one of her most famous war-time songs in which she sang of bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover.

Dame Vera Lynn Dame Vera Lynn

On Monday, a 350ft image of the singer was beamed onto the cliffs before a special gathering at South Foreland lighthouse at St Margaret’s Bay.

War veterans, WWII re-enactors, 1940s’ singers and supporters of the Dame Vera Lynn’s Children’s Charity gathered by a special display with the Union Jack flag proudly flying at full-mast.

Dame Vera, who spent her day celebrating with a family party at her home in Ditchling, East Sussex, said: “I can’t believe everyone went to so much trouble to wish me a happy birthday – I feel incredibly humbled by it all.”

The spectacle came just days after the release of her latest album, which entered the top 10, and a star-studded birthday event at the London Palladium.

Virginia Portman, general manager at the White Cliffs of Dover for the National Trust, said: “The White Cliffs will be forever intertwined with the British wartime spirit immortalised in Dame Vera’s songs. Her music marked the start of the enduring emotional connection that people feel when they visit us here. Today, the cliffs we care for are home to a rich array of wildlife, from rare butterflies to falcons. We use traditional conservation methods, including our herd of Exmoor ponies, to preserve the delicate chalk grassland for generations to come. We’re delighted to be a part of Dame Vera’s extra special day.”

Pilar Cloud, executive manager at the Dame Vera Lynn’s Children’s Charity, said: “Dame Vera is such a special lady who has spent her life helping others. From keeping the troops’ spirits up during the war to the work she continues to do today, helping families of young children with cerebral palsy, her efforts for others are never-ending.

“It’s typical of her that for her special birthday Dame Vera is asking for charity donations rather than gifts for herself – it was her selfless actions that first captured a nation’s heart seventy years ago and continue to do so today.”

The Spitfire fly-past is now scheduled to take place at 10.30am - weather conditions permitting.


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