Holly Willoughby recalls meeting Dame Vera Lynn as a child as singer dies at 103

Holly Willoughby has shared a personal story of meeting Dame Vera Lynn when she was a child, as the singer passed away at the age of 103. 

Starting Thursday’s This Morning with a tribute to Dame Vera, Holly revealed that she had met her by chance when she was a child, as they didn’t live far from each other. 

Holly told the viewers: ‘When I was a really little girl we grew up not far from Ditchling actually, where she lived, and there was a farm where you used to get your turkeys for Christmas. 

‘I remember being with my mum, and I was only tiny, and my mum saying to me: “That lady there is Dame Vera Lynn”. 

‘And I remember then just sort of looking at this lady and I was so young I couldn’t put it in context but just thinking “Oh my gosh”. 

‘And I always think now, I was so pleased that at least I got to catch a glimpse of this incredible woman.’

Phillip added: ‘I met her a number of times during my earlier career and she was always very dignified.’

Dame Vera’s family confirmed the Forces’ sweetheart had died on Thursday, saying in a statement: ‘The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103. 

‘Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family.’

The singer was well known for performing songs The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, and I’ll Be Seeing You, as she entertained the troops with morale-boosting visits to the front line during the Second World War. 

Her biggest hit, We’ll Meet Again, got new meaning this year as it became the anthem of lockdown as families were kept apart by social distancing. 

The Queen also referenced a line from it in her speech during the lockdown, and Dame Vera also encouraged the British public to ‘rediscover that same spirit that saw us through the war’ amid the coronavirus pandemic, in a special message before she turned 103 in March.

This Morning airs weekdays from 10am on ITV. 

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