Vera Lynn’s house could be open to the public – home may be turned into museum | UK | News (Reports)


Virginia Lewis Jones, the only child of the much-loved singer who became known as The Forces Sweetheart, lives in the house in Ditchling, East Sussex, where her mother resided from the 1960s until her death. Virginia, 74, who runs her mother’s music company, says: “We have thought about a museum downstairs and opening up particular rooms.

“There are lots of pros and lots of cons. You’d have to be very careful. You’d have to have people sitting in the rooms, like The National Trust.”

She added: “The main area would be the sitting-room and the dining-room.”

Virginia and her husband Tom Jones, a retired RAF pilot, used to live next door to her parents.

Her father Harry, who married Dame Vera in 1941, died in 1998.

She said: “Quite a few years ago, it got to the point where we said to mummy, ‘You’ve either got to have somebody [caring] 24/7, or we move over.’ She said ‘I’d rather it was you’.

“So we took over the top floor and have it as our apartment. Tom and I looked after her but it got to the point where I couldn’t manage anymore.” Carers were then brought in.

After her mother’s death, The Queen, Prince Charles, Boris Johnson and Captain Tom Moore were among VIPs who paid tribute to Dame Vera.

A star-studded memorial service is planned for next summer at Westminster Abbey. Virginia said: “We’ve asked Katherine Jenkins and Paul McCartney if they’d like to be part of it, and Tim Rice to possibly do the commentary. But plans are at an embryonic stage.”

Virginia has been in talks about the possibility of a statue of her mother.

She said: “People say the White Cliffs of Dover, but it’s a bit out in the middle of nowhere.

“We feel a main statue would be better somewhere in London where more people would visit it, so we’re aiming for that at the moment.”

Asked how she would like her mother to be remembered, she said: “As an iconic person who drew lots of people together, not only for entertainment but also from the morale point of view – and gave people hope.”

KEEP SMILING THROUGH, a new album of songs by Dame Vera Lynn, is out now on Decca Records.


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