The white cliffs of Dover Meadow renamed in honor of the singer

A meadow on the White Cliffs of Dover has been renamed in memory of iconic singer Dame Vera Lynn on the first anniversary of her death.

Dame Vera, known as “Force’s Sweetheart”, entertained the troops with tours to boost morale on the front line during World War II.

She died at the age of 103 last June.

Her famous lyrics: “There will be bluebirds above the white cliffs of Dover” mean that the singer’s legacy is forever associated with the picturesque Kent coast.

Now dubbed Dame Vera Lynn Down, the meadow was unveiled in a special ceremony on Thursday, with the footpath leading to the area also receiving a name change to Dame Vera Lynn Way.

The renamed wheat field was part of a £1million fundraising campaign by the National Trust to buy 178 acres of clifftop arable land in 2017, which Dame Vera has backed.

The land is now returning to its original prairie state and is already teeming with wildflowers and wildlife.

Virginia Lewis-Jones, Dame Vera’s daughter, said her mother would have loved the natural space.

“My mum would be absolutely delighted to have the wildflower meadow named after her, especially as she actively supported the National Trust’s campaign to protect the landscape in 2017,” she said.

“She always loved having flowers around her and was an avid gardener for many decades.

“The renaming of the trail to Dame Vera Lynn Way is a moving tribute as my mum always remarked that the white cliffs were the last landmark seen when the boys went off to war and the first they saw when they got home,” she added.

A lighthouse on the cliffs was also lit on Thursday, shining above the English Channel after being lit by Dame Vera’s daughter to honor her memory.

Dame Vera’s family will also officially launch a fundraising appeal on Friday for a statue commemorating the late singer, with a song released to help raise funds.

Some of his most famous songs include ‘The White Cliffs Of Dover’, ‘There’ll Always Be An England’, ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, ‘Wishing’ and ‘If Only I Had Wings’.

Arguably her best-known song, “We’ll Meet Again”, enjoyed a resurgence last year when the Queen mentioned it in an address to the nation on the coronavirus lockdown.

Cover image: Dame Vera Lynn with a life-size cutout of herself as ‘Forces’ Sweetheart’ (Photo: PA).

Chris B. Hall