Dame Vera Lynn is backing a bid to save the White Cliffs of Dover from developers
For Second World War troops far from home, her voice evoked images of the famous White Cliffs.
And now Dame Vera Lynn is backing a campaign to save the beauty spot for the nation.
The 100-year-old is supporting a campaign to raise £1million over the next few weeks to make sure land behind the Dover cliffs is not taken over by developers.
The National Trust secured five miles of the clifftops in 2012. But a landowner is planning to sell an area of 700,000 square metres next to the clifftops.
The trust now has until September 22 to raise the money and make sure that the area can be preserved for the public.
Dame Vera, famous for her 1942 classic The White Cliffs of Dover, said: ‘Those iconic white cliffs mean a great deal to so many people. They were often the first sight of home for our brave boys as they returned from war, and they continue to represent important British ideals such as hope and resilience even in the most difficult of times.
‘It is vital that we do all that we can to preserve this important historical site for posterity, so that the memory of the past is never forgotten by future generations.’
The stretch of land is crucial for nature and wildlife, with more than 40 species of flowers and grasses per square metre. It also provides the perfect habitat for butterflies such as the adonis blue and marbled white, and birds including the peregrine falcon and skylark.
It is hoped that, if successful, the National Trust will be able to restore animals’ habitats and improve public access. In addition, the site has a number of relics from the Second World War, including two large gun emplacements.
Highly regarded: Dame Vera’s face was beamed on to the cliffs (pictured) to mark her 100th birthday in March this year as two wartime Spitfires performed a rare flyover
Owning the site, known historically as Wanstone Battery, would enable the trust to begin restoring the land to chalk grasslands, make the military structures watertight and build access routes for visitors.
Virginia Portman, the National Trust’s general manager for the White Cliffs of Dover, said: ‘The site should be open for the whole nation to enjoy.
‘It would be devastating if we lost the opportunity to protect it forever. A successful appeal will not only allow us to secure the land but also educate and inspire future generations.’
Dame Vera’s face was beamed on to the cliffs to mark her 100th birthday in March this year as two wartime Spitfires performed a rare flyover.
The album released to mark her centenary – Vera Lynn 100 – gave her the record as the oldest living artist to get a top 20 UK album.
She said at the time: ‘It’s truly humbling that people still enjoy these songs from so many years ago, reliving the emotions of that time – I was, after all, just doing my job as a singer – and it’s so wonderful for me to hear my songs again so beautifully presented in a completely new way.’