Forces sweethearts Dame Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins embrace under a rain of celebratory red, white and blue confetti after the younger singer's rendition of the poignant Dame Vera favourite We'll Meet Again
Photo: EMPICS
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Compere Natasha Kaplinsky did honour to the occasion by dressing in three glamorous gowns reflecting the patriotic red, white and blue theme
Photo: EMPICS

9 MAY 2005

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Two Forces sweethearts spanning the generations - Dame Vera Lynn, 88, and 24-year-old Katherine Jenkins struck the high note at a VE Day concert headed by a glamorous Natasha Kaplinsky and attended by scores of popular artists.

Young and old alike crammed London's Trafalgar Square for the three-hour gala concert, which was the highest-profile of celebratory street parties all over the country commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the fall of Nazism.

Dame Vera stood alongside young Welsh soprano Katherine during her rendition of We'll Meet Again, the song she made famous six decades ago, whose words represented all the hope and poignancy of saying goodbye to loved ones during the war years.

Among the other entertainment personalities attending the event were Sir Cliff Richard, Shane Richie, Christopher Eccleston, Katie Melua, who sang The White Cliffs Of Dover, Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Heather, and Daniel Bedingfield. Compere Natasha Kaplinsky did honour to the occasion by appearing in three different gowns, in red, white and blue.

At the Cenotaph, Prince Charles headed the main commemorative event of the day, whose lowkey approach disappointed and angered many expecting a more grand affair to mark such an important date in modern history. A major bone of contention was that the Queen, who stood on the palace balcony in her subaltern's uniform alongside Churchill and her parents the king and queen on the original VE Day, was not invited by government organisers to attend.

"Completely miserable," remarked one veteran of the commemoration. Another called it "a bloody disgrace" that veterans were not invited to march, while one war widow said succinctly that "Downing Street needs its backside kicked".

Commemorative events continue Europe-wide this week; several world leaders gather in Moscow on Monday for a major ceremony, while the Queen is to visit the Channel Islands, which were occupied during the war.

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