HAPPY 100th birthday Dame Vera, from patients and staff at Basildon Hospital
Mrs Audrey Cresswell (2nd left at table,) with other patients and staff, at a tea party to celebrate Dame Vera Lynn’s 100 birthday.
Older patients being cared for at Basildon University Hospital raised a teacup in honour of Dame Vera Lynn, who was known as the forces’ sweetheart during the Second World War.
Hospital staff joined patients in the reminiscence room on Kingswood Ward, to enjoy musical memories and a 1940s tea party, in tribute to the much-loved performer on her 100th birthday.
Dame Vera travelled the world, often at great personal risk, to entertain and give hope to the troops with classic songs such as The White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll meet again. Last week she released a new album, Vera Lynn 100.
Mrs Audrey Cresswell was born in 1931and grew up in Tilbury, which was bombed heavily during the war. She recalled: “I remember hundreds of German planes flying over on a lovely sunny day, and my mum pushing us three kids and the dog into the shelter, and putting a mattress over us. Our house was damaged by a blast, and for a while we went to live with relatives in the north of England.
“We all loved Vera Lynn – my dad collected all her records.”
Debbie Hewitt, activity co-ordinator, has been working with older people on the wards at the hospital, recording their memories of Dame Vera, which they plan to send on to her. Basildon Hospital radio, BHR1287, played requests in honour of the occasion.
She said: “Activities like this improve the wellbeing of our patients and are a welcome distraction from the hospital routine. Celebrating Dame Vera’s birthday is the perfect opportunity to let everyone share memories and have some fun.”