Dame Vera Lynn's secrets for a long life

A pair of Spitfires will fly over the white cliffs of Dover to celebrate Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday on Monday.

Known as the World War Two “forces’ sweetheart”, Dame Vera’s photograph has also been projected onto the cliffs.

Asked for her advice on how to live a long life, Dame Vera told BBC Radio 2: “Be active to your full capabilities.

“Keep interested, read books, watch television and try to keep in touch with life and what people are doing, seeing and enjoying.”

She added: “While you can do that, I hope you will continue.”

She became a national treasure after travelling to conflict zones around the world during the war to give morale-boosting performances to British troops.

On Monday, there will also be a military salute and a 50ft structure will be erected on the cliffs featuring three giant bluebirds, inspired by the song The White Cliffs of Dover.

Children at Brampton Primary School – Dame Vera’s old school in East Ham, east London – will sing Happy Birthday to her via Skype and Dame Vera will cut a special birthday cake.

Speaking to Radio 2’s Chris Evans, the veteran singer said: “When I look on my mantelpiece and see these cards wishing me a happy 100th birthday, I can’t believe it.

“But there you are, time marches on and this is what I have on my mantelpiece to remind me how old I am.”

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