A special portrait of the Forces' Sweetheart', Dame Vera Lynn, by Dan Llywelyn Hall will be unveiled on 8 May to help raise funds for Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity.
On the 8th May the world will mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The day that Europe was liberated from the grips of World War Two.
Dame Vera Lynn, now 103, has become a global icon for her morale-boosting visits to the front-line during the war, entertaining the troops and relaying messages of goodwill. In the recent global pandemic, Dame Vera's music has again become an anthem for a much-needed morale boost, following the Queen's broadcast in April and has again topped the charts with her famous 'We'll Meet Again'; a recent duet version with Katherine Jenkins.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has created a very uncertain landscape for many British charities. This portrait project hopes to help the cause with your support.
Since the Charity was established in 2001 by Dame Vera Lynn, the Forces Sweetheart, it has helped more than 600 families from across the Southeast who have with children cerebral palsy and other motor learning impairments.
The charity's story began in late 2000 with the announcement by the national charity Scope, that it would no longer be able to fund its network of School for Parents, facilities providing early intervention services based on the principles of Conductive Education to support parents in raising a pre-school aged child with cerebral palsy or other neurological condition. Each year in the UK, 1,800 children are born with cerebral palsy. Over the last year they have provided 1,200 hours of hands-on support to our families and 275 hours of Outreach support.
Understanding the importance of early intervention, and determined not to see the School For Parents at Ingfield Manor, West Sussex, close, Dame Vera together with her friends launched the 'Bluebird Appeal' and raised enough awareness and considerable funds to save the school. If it were not for her efforts, so many children would have lost out on an amazing start.
The Charity receives no statutory funding and is entirely reliant upon the donations it receives from individuals, community groups, companies and charitable trusts.
Dame Vera, President of the charity, said:
"I am so proud of how far the charity has come and all the work it does to support our families. It makes it all worthwhile when the children we have helped get in touch to tell us what they are doing and achieving as adults."
Pilar Cloud, Executive Manager said:“In these unprecedented times, we are so grateful to be able to look to the example of positivity and ingenuity that our President, Dame Vera, has given us. Rather than focusing on all the things that we cannot do now, the team and I at the Charity are trying to adapt to ensure that we can carry on providing support to our families so that their children do not suffer during this lockdown period. Their needs have not changed, but our service and certainly our ability to fundraise for it, has been profoundly impacted. We are in the midst of a funding crisis and are so incredibly grateful to Dan Llywelyn Hall for choosing to support us with the profits from the sale of his beautiful portrait and the print of this Charity’s founder, Dame Vera Lynn."
The artist, Dan Llywelyn Hall (born 1980) has painted the portraits of a wide range of noteworthy sitters. In 2013, Dan became the 133 artist to sit with Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, for an official portrait commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union. Previously, he painted portraits of the last survivors of WW1; Harry Patch and Henry Allingham - exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. More recently he embarked on a portrait project painting the portraits of every one of the 133 Dambusters to mark the 75th anniversary since the raid in 2018. Other sitters include entertainers such as Amy Winehouse, Dame Barbara Windsor and Marc Almond.
Dan Llywleyn Hall in the studio (Credit Georgina Slocombe 2018)
The Last Tommy - Harry Patch by Dan Llywleyn Hall 2009
Unveiling of 'Icon' A portrait of H.M. the Queen in 2013
75% OF ALL DONATIONS TO THIS CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN WILL GO DIRECTLY TO DAME VERA LYNN CHILDREN'S CHARITY. THE OTHER 25% WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THE PRODUCTION COSTS OF THE ARTWORK, ADMINISTRATION COSTS, POSTAGE FOR REWARDS AND THE WEBSITE COMMISSION FEES.