Watching the BBC documentary in honour of Forces Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn's incredible life, and to commemorate her 100th birthday which she celebrates today. I was reminded of having the honour of photographing her at her 90th birthday lunch at the Imperial War Museum. This was while I was doing work experience at my local newspaper the South London Press. It was my first experience being part of a press pack, largely dominated by men, as far as I can remember I was the only female photographer there.
Guests of honour was Margaret Thatcher, a hugely strong presence and amazing to see her in real life, and Forces Sweetheart Katharine Jenkins, companion to Dame Vera. Afterwards the Royal Hospital Band Chelsea greeted them with music and posed for photos. I can't believe it was only 10 years ago, it feels like a lifetime ago. Dame Vera Lynn has a wonderful joie de vivre and I'm not surprised to see her celebrating a century of life and music. She is the first centenarian to release an album and today a 350ft image of her will be projected on the white cliffs of Dover