Patrick Stewart leads tributes to Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th birthday

Patrick Stewart has led tributes to Dame Vera Lynn as she celebrates her 100th birthday, admitting that her music still makes him cry.

The Logan star, 76, congratulated her on the milestone and said he was proud to be her fan.

Dame Vera, who was celebrating her birthday on Monday, was a source of inspiration for soldiers and their loved ones during the Second World War thanks to her uplifting songs.

Speaking at the Empire Awards in north London on Sunday, where he was honoured for his film and television work, Sir Patrick told the Press Association: “The other day I was in the car and I suddenly found myself singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, and I began to cry.

Sir Patrick Stewart  (Matt Crossick/PA)
Sir Patrick Stewart (Matt Crossick/PA)

“My wife said ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and I couldn’t begin to explain, because there’s too much history.

“Dame Vera has been in my life since I was a child, I was born in 1940 and her music, her singing and what she meant to the British during the darkest, darkest days of the Second World War was so important.”

During her early 20s Dame Vera earned herself the name of the Forces’ Sweetheart after she travelled long distances, often at great personal risk, to entertain troops and provide them with messages of hope.

Stars from across the world of showbusiness offered messages of congratulations to the singer including television presenter Gloria Hunniford who called the milestone “fabulous”.

Gloria Hunniford
Gloria Hunniford (Hannah McKay / PA Wire/PA Images)

She told the Press Association: “Dame Vera, we’ve met a lot of times over microphones.

“I’m so thrilled that you’ve hit that 100 mark, I didn’t doubt it for a minute.”

To celebrate her 100th birthday, Dame Vera released an album on Friday featuring new re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals.

It is thought the collection made Dame Vera the first singer to have released a new album as a centenarian.

Of the album, Gloria said: “I like the idea that you go on having compilation hits, 90, 95, 100″, adding: “I send you much love, and I wish you well and please God we’ll see you soon.”

Actress Lesley Joseph said: “Dame Vera you are a complete star and congratulations it’s a wonderful, wonderful achievement.”

Broadcaster Eamonn Holmes said his interviews with the singer had “always been a privilege and a pleasure”, adding: “You are, without doubt, a living legend. Congratulations.”

Judge Rinder
Judge Rinder (John Stillwell/PA)

Television judge Robert Rinder thanked the centenarian for her efforts during the war. He said: “Happy birthday Dame Vera and thank you for everything you did for our servicemen.

“You and that generation were extraordinary. We’re here today because you were there for us, so happy.”

 

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