Dame Vera Lynn joins charity as new ambassador

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War-time entertainer, national treasure and Ditchling resident Dame Vera Lynn has been announced as the first-ever national female ambassador for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

Explaining the decision to offer the star synonymous with war-time Britain the role of honorary ambassador, Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, chief executive of SSAFA said: “Dame Vera is a long-term and committed supporter of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

“She understands the vital role that the charity plays in the welfare of British Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

“Furthermore, she is hugely well-respected by our beneficiaries, particularly our WW2 veterans. We are honoured that she has joined our ranks as an honorary ambassador.”

Explaining why she accepted the role, Dame Vera explained: “I am very proud to have been offered the role of honorary ambassador for SSAFA.

“I have always been passionate about supporting our service men and women and I’m so pleased that my role in WW2 and beyond has been recognized in such a delightful way.”

Dame Vera was a hugely popular singer and entertainer during WW2 and recorded some of the most emblematic songs of the period including We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover.

She travelled around the world during this time, entertaining British troops and helping to boost morale oversees.

Dame Vera was awarded the title of ‘Forces Sweetheart’ by the servicemen and women of war-time Britain and was recently made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

SSAFA, whose network of over 7,000 volunteers at 92 branches across the UK, support serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families, is the oldest national military charity in the UK, supporting some 60,000 people in the Armed Forces community each year.

SSAFA Sussex branch — invested with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2015 — is completely run by volunteers and has eight divisions in the county; they are: Brighton & Hove and Lewes, Chichester, Cuckfield & Crawley, Eastbourne, Hasting & Rother, Horsham, Uckfield and Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham.

If you are in need of support and are a veteran or currently serving member of the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force, or indeed their family members, contact SSAFA Sussex Branch on 0800 169 9060 or email bsec@ssafasussex.uk or visit - www.ssafa.org.uk/sussex