Belfast Telegraph

Eamonn Holmes and Gloria Hunniford pay tribute as Dame Vera chalks up her centenary

By Joe Nerssessian

Northern Ireland broadcasters Eamonn Holmes and Gloria Hunniford have joined celebrity well-wishers in congratulating "living legend" Dame Vera Lynn as she celebrates her 100th birthday.

Dame Vera, who reached the milestone today, was a source of inspiration for soldiers and their loved ones during the Second World War thanks to her uplifting songs.

In her early 20s she 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 the world of showbusiness offered messages of congratulations to the singer, including TV presenter Hunniford, who called the milestone "fabulous".

She said: "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 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 has made Dame Vera the first singer to have released a new album as a centenarian.

Of the album, Hunniford said: "I like the idea that you go on having compilation hits, 90, 95, 100". And she added: "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." Holmes said his interviews with the singer had "always been a privilege and a pleasure".

He added: "You are, without doubt, a living legend. Congratulations."

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 100th."

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