SILENCE fell over the chapel’s courtyard as Dame Vera Lynn’s funeral procession pulled in.

The hearse carrying her Union Flag-draped coffin was followed by three limousines carrying close friends and family to the ceremony at Woodvale Crematorium’s South Chapel in Brighton on Friday.

A small group of press photographers and Brighton residents who had been allowed to attend stood, socially distanced, on a patch of grass to the side of the stone driveway.

The Argus:

The coffin was slowly unloaded from the hearse by members of the Armed Forces in full regalia, who raised the casket up to their shoulders before making their way into the chapel with unhurried, synchronised strides. 

The servicemen passed through a guard of honour made up of members of the Navy, RAF and Army, a fitting tribute to the Forces’ Sweetheart, before entering the church.
Little was revealed about the private ceremony itself. 

A small number of order of service booklets were produced and these were only distributed to close friends and family, The Argus has been told.

The Argus:

As the service took place, the respectful hush remained outside the chapel. Low murmurs could be heard as people shared their memories of Dame Vera, from fleeting meetings at fundraising events to grandparents playing her music on repeat through gramophones.

Christopher Sandland MBE (right, below) was one of those to attend, making his way over from Kemp Town to pay his respects. 

The 66-year-old remembered how he and the Sussex singer had once crossed paths at a charity event.

The Argus:

“She would smile at everyone and give us all a little wave, she most certainly had a presence about her,” he explained.

“I have been fortunate enough to meet members of the Royal Family and she had that sort of presence.

“You had the feeling you were meeting someone very special.”

A bugler sounded The Last Post from inside the chapel to mark the end of the service.