Dame Vera Lynn's centenary marked with Bluebirds over White Cliffs of Dover

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Dame Vera Lynn celebrated her landmark 100th birthday by outselling the rapper Drake with a new album which could finally displace Ed Sheeran from the top of the charts.

Sir Patrick Stewart was among those paying tribute to Dame Vera, admitting that her music still makes him cry.

Talking about her work to entertain the troops and boost morale, she said: "It was wonderful to be able to do something in those times" and she added: "I'm glad it helped them to hold on to home".

"Dame Vera Lynn has written a number of iconic songs which many residents are likely to have grown up listening to".

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.

Lynn is joined by a line-up of chart-topping British singers on the album, including Alfie Boe on We'll Meet Again, Alexander Armstrong on White Cliffs of Dover and Aled Jones on As Time Goes By.

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She also now holds the record for being the oldest living artist to get a top 20 United Kingdom album.

"Vera Lynn 100" features Lynn's original vocals set to re-orchestrated versions of some of her most famous songs including "The White Cliffs of Dover" and "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart".

She told the students: "I have very happy memories of my days at Brampton Park school and I do hope that you're happy there now". She also performed on the radio and television during the war and was awarded the title The Forces' Sweetheart in 1939.

'I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can't think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion'.

Lynn's daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones, shows Derham a selection of her mother's fan mail, which she still receives on a daily basis, including a birthday message from the late Queen Mother.

In historian Simon Webb's book A 1960s East End Childhood, it also states: "The Kursaal also had one of the finest ballrooms in Europe - where Vera Lynn launched her career".

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