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Coronavirus: Deserted Belfast stars in campaign video backed by Dame Vera Lynn thanking UK public for staying at home

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Dame Vera Lynn (Decca Records/PA)

Dame Vera Lynn (Decca Records/PA)

Press Association Images

Dame Vera Lynn (Decca Records/PA)

Haunting images of a deserted Belfast city centre feature prominently in a new online campaign, backed by Dame Vera Lynn, thanking the people of the United Kingdom for staying at home.

The wartime hero, who celebrated her 103rd birthday last week, has lent her support to a short film as the UK prepares for its second week in lockdown.

The video features one of Dame Vera's best-known songs, We’ll Meet Again, which is used to deliver message of unity and hope against backdrop of empty streets and buildings as the nation fights Covid-19.

The singer, who performed to British troops during the Second World War, is supporting a drive to urge citizens to “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.

It echoes the instructions issued by the government last Monday night when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced strict new measures designed to curb the number of Covid-19 cases.

In the film, a contemporary version of Dame Vera’s iconic song We’ll Meet Again is set against images of some of the United Kingdom's best-known landmarks, including Belfast City Hall. The song is performed by Sophie Madeleine, an award-winning musician from Brighton.

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The short film shows that the vast majority of people are following the government’s instructions to stay indoors and thanks the public for doing so.

It ends with the words: “Thank you for keeping your distance. If we stay apart now, together we will beat this and come back stronger.”

Dame Vera, whose songs captured the mood of wartime Britain, said she was "delighted" to be asked to support the film.

"It’s important to recognise the sacrifices millions are making by putting their lives on hold," she said.

"But we also need to remind people that things will improve if we continue to pull together and that we will all meet again when this is over.

"We faced a very different enemy in World War II, but the actions we are all taking today reminds me of the unity that was forged from adversity during the war.”

The film was produced and independently funded by Zinc Network, a communications agency that helps communities, brands and governments drive positive social change.

Zinc Network’s founder and CEO Robert Elliott said: “We wanted to recognise the effort everyone around the UK is making to tackle coronavirus and protect the NHS. Social media can help bring people together during a national emergency and we’re delighted Dame Vera agreed to support our effort to thank the nation”.

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Dame Vera Lynn (Dame Vera Lynn Archive/PA)

Dame Vera Lynn (Dame Vera Lynn Archive/PA)

Dame Vera Lynn (Dame Vera Lynn Archive/PA)

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