Over 200 veterans, along with their carers and partners, enjoyed a ‘night to remember’ when they attended 100: A Tribute to Dame Vera Lynn, thanks to a £10,000 donation made by civils and drainage solutions supplier Keyline.
The star-studded show, which took place on Saturday 18th March at the iconic London Palladium and was attended by Her Majesty, the Queen, saw celebrities come together to tell the story of Dame Vera Lynn’s incredible career. The audience were treated to an array of performances from celebrities including Aled Jones, Bradley Walsh, Russell Watson, Alexander Armstrong and Hayley Westenra.
The collection of tickets donated by Keyline, funds of which benefited Dame Vera’s namesake legacy charity – the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, which helps children under five with cerebral palsy – were distributed to the veterans, many of whom suffer with disabilities as a result of wounds they suffered whilst serving their country, via The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans and The Not Forgotten Association.
One of the deserving veterans who received a ticket, and was in the audience, was 93-year-old Bill Gladden from Welling.
Bill joined the army at 18 and served in the 6th Airborne Division at the Normandy landings. 12 days after the invasion, Bill received serious injuries to his left ankle and was to spend the rest of the war recovering in hospital until he was discharged in 1947.
Bill said: “Vera was a marvellous singer. She once sang to us up at Salisbury Plain and I could never get her songs out of my mind. Since the show I’ve been singing ‘we’ll meet again’ over and over – I love that song.
“It was a wonderful show and beautifully presented. I shall never forget it. Thank you Keyline for our tickets.”
83-year-old Jim Ellard MBE from Orpington was also at the performance. He said: “Throughout my whole life I have listened to and enjoyed the voice of Dame Vera Lynn. My father, who served in WW2, related the pleasure him and his colleagues got when someone in their unit could tune into the BBC and listen to her songs.
“The show captured everyone’s memories of Vera – it was magnificent and more than a few of the older veterans had their handkerchiefs at the ready.”
Kieran Griffin, Managing Director at Keyline, added: “It’s an absolute pleasure to not only make a big difference to the Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity and the families they support, but also to bring so much joy to the veterans who attended her tribute show as a result. I’m delighted that everyone had such a great night.”