The life of Dame Vera Lynn honoured at Abbey service

Monday, 21st March 2022

The life of Dame Vera Lynn honoured at Abbey service

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Dame Vera Lynn was held at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Monday 21st March 2021.

Celebrated as a symbol of the British wartime spirit, Dame Vera had a career as a singer and entertainer lasting a remarkable ninety years. Her songs We'll meet again and The white cliffs of Dover caught the national mood, and their popularity among servicemen earned her the status of 'Forces' sweetheart'.

About the service

The Service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said in his Bidding:

In this house of prayer, in a place of memory, and in the company of friends we meet to give thanks for the life and work of Dame Vera Lynn.  We remember a talent and charm that sustained a breathtakingly long career; the only centenarian to have an album in the top ten. 
More significantly still, we remember a woman of commitment, courage and resilience, who became the voice of constancy and hope for this nation in wartime.

Presenter Alan Titchmarsh MBE gave a personal remembrance:

I had the chance to interview Vera, and to meet her husband Harry - always there to keep a watchful eye on the missus. I cherish those moments in her company - always pleasant and relaxed - whether we were talking about her garden or her singing.

Wartime singing group The D-Day Darlings performed one of Dame Vera Lynn's signature songs, The white cliffs of Dover.

Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby and actor Anthony Andrews gave tributes, and Glenys Creese, Executive Manager of the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, read a letter of thanksgiving.

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice read 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11. Dame Vera’s friend Susan Fleet read Goodnight sweetheart.

Prayers were led by The Reverend Robert Latham, Sacrist, and said by:

  • Chaplain General Designate to Her Majesty’s Armed Forces The Reverend Michael Parker QHC
  • The Reverend David Wallis, Vicar of Ditchling
  • Tom Jones, Trustee of the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity
  • Virginia Lewis Jones

Her Majesty The Queen was represented at the service by The Lord Chamberlain, The Lord Parker of Minsmere; TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were represented by The Earl of Rosslyn; and HRH The Princess Royal was represented by Lady Carew Pole.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir, conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist, and before the service by Charles Maxtone-Smith.

Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Vera Lynn - Order of Service (pdf, 576KB)