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Forces’ Sweetheart and Wartime Entertainers’ Memorial to feature at National Memorial Arboretum

Work in progress - Dame Vera Lynn statue - Paul Day

The legacy of Dame Vera Lynn is being celebrated as part of a powerful and ground-breaking tribute to all those unsung heroes who entertain in times of conflict.

The memorial committee is delighted to announce that the sculpture is intended to feature at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as part of a wider tribute to all wartime performers, past present and future.

Julie Cushion, chair of the Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Statue committee said: “We are honoured to dedicate this memorial to all those who risk their lives to entertain and lift spirits and morale in times of conflict.

She continued: “First announced last year, the Dame Vera Memorial was originally planned for the White Cliffs of Dover. However, this reimagined memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire will provide much greater accessibility not only to UK residents but also to international visitors and celebrate the contributions of all wartime performers.”

It is proposed that the memorial will be placed alongside the river at the Arboretum, which was founded 22 years ago to commemorate Britain’s servicemen and women.

Created by renowned artist Paul Day, who has sculpted high-profile public monuments for more than two decades, the proposed memorial will take the form of a 3-metre diameter, bronze disc in high relief depicting at its centre Dame Vera Lynn, surrounded by scenes of entertainers performing for the Armed Forces.

Dame Vera Lynn, known across the UK, Commonwealth and internationally as The Forces’ Sweetheart, will feature prominently in the design as an icon, representative of all entertainers along with service men and women, wartime musicians, and service families.

The late MP Sir David Amess, was a driving force behind the memorial, helping to launch the Memorial Statue fund and served as the first Chairman of the appeal. Events hosted in his memory, including an art exhibition and concert, have contributed to wider fundraising efforts.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have found a home for the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum,” says Virginia Lewis-Jones, Dame Vera’s daughter. “My mother would be delighted to be so close to her beloved boys, and to feature in a beautiful memorial that focuses not just on her but also our brave service men and women. This is the right place to commemorate her legacy for future generations.”

The National Memorial Arboretum has been carefully selected to allow members of the general public to access the memorial while promoting educational information on World War II. Earlier this year, the National Memorial Arboretum granted approval in principle for the memorial, with final approval pending the submission of a full application with additional technical details.

While a location has been chosen and the sculpture is coming along nicely, funds are still required to complete this ambitious project to honour outstanding contributions from some of the country’s best-loved performers. Any contribution is hugely appreciated so please donate what you can via our JustGiving page.

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Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Statue