Support for Dame Vera Memorial

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday I backed the proposal for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn in Dover and called on DCMS Minister Matt Warman to support it.

The proposal for a memorial to Dame Vera Lynn is seen as an opportunity to bring to life the excitement of everything Dame Vera represented in her life.

In response, Minister Warman welcomed my commitment to the role of arts and culture in levelling up and reinvigorating towns and cities around the country. He also said he looked forward to seeing the outcomes of the work being done across Dover and Deal.

I told the House:

“This will form part of our levelling-up bid, and I hope that the … Department will support the importance that this could bring to Dover. Dover Council fully supports everything that is being done. We see this as an opportunity for live performance, for growth, for tourism and for bringing to life the excitement of everything Dame Vera represented in her life in entertainment, in the arts and in service to our country.”

Minister Warman said:

“I share her commitment to the important role of arts and culture in truly levelling up and reinvigorating towns and cities across the country. I know that she recently met the Minister for Digital and Culture … to discuss her plans and had a productive conversation with Arts Council England. We at DCMS look forward to seeing the outcomes of her work across Dover and Deal.”

In a separate development the bid received a shot in the arm last Friday when renowned memorial sculptor, Paul Day, visited the site.

This was followed by a visit by Sir David Amess MP, who led last week’s debate in Parliament as Chairman of the Dame Vera Lynn Memorial Committee.

Sir David described the emerging proposals as:

“The most impressive and relevant site and one that has captured the spirit of Dame Vera is a proposed open-air ampitheatre or bowl overlooking the harbour and the white cliffs, which is such a wonderful idea. This project will provide a venue for concerts, theatrical productions and military events in a stunning natural setting. The memorial to Dame Vera will be at the heart of the plans, and her musical legacy will live on in the enjoyment of visitors and audiences for many years to come … there she will be, presiding over the bowl and looking over the channel. It is just wonderful.”

Council Leader Cllr Bartlett and Cllr MJ Holloway hosted the visits this week. Cllr Bartlett said:

“It was a pleasure to host two important meetings this week on the Dame Vera Memorial proposals. One from the renowned sculptor, Paul Day, and the Chairman of the Dame Vera Memorial Committee, Sir David Amess MP. Sir David was extremely complimentary about our beautiful town, and the importance of the White Cliffs, and excited about the proposals we are developing with him and Dame Vera’s family.”

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