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Dame Vera to release new album

Dame Vera Lynn is releasing a new album at the age of 97: Photo © Dame Vera to release new album Photo

Dame Vera Lynn is to release a new album - as she turns 97.

The "forces' sweetheart" - who buoyed the nation's spirits in the Second World War - will bring out a new collection, which includes unreleased songs which have recently been rediscovered.

Dame Vera - who celebrates her birthday today (March 20) - already holds a record as the first and only artist over the age of 90 to top the UK album charts, a feat she achieved in 2009.

The veteran star will issue Vera Lynn: National Treasure - The Ultimate Collection on June 2 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, which occurs four days later.

Dame Vera said: "I think it's wonderful that my songs are still enjoyed, especially if it encourages people to commemorate what happened 70 years ago. It's moving for me to relive those days, and humbling to know that people still think of me - after all, it was simply my duty to keep singing."

The album will bring together more than 40 of her morale-boosting songs from 1940-1945, including We'll Meet Again, The White Cliffs Of Dover and You'll Never Know, but also some of the unreleased tracks which have been uncovered by her daughter Virginia.

The songs have been remastered after being taken from the best available recordings. Some had only survived on the original 78rpm releases.

The release comes as Dame Vera also celebrates 90 years in showbusiness - a feat which will be difficult to match - after making her stage debut at the age of seven, and comes in a year of commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

Recent research has shown the scale of her success with the publication of a book which analysed sales data before the official UK record charts were launched in 1952. It showed she would have had a string of chart-toppers and suggested her first number one would have been in 1940 with We'll Meet Again on Decca Records, the label behind her new release.

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