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Dame Vera Lynn to release new album aged 97

The 'forces' sweetheart' will bring out the new collection in the summer

Dame Vera Lynn is to release a new album - at the grand age of 97.

The “forces' sweetheart”, who was enormously popular during the Second World War, will bring out a new collection of songs, including previously unreleased titles that have recently been discovered.

Dame Vera, who celebrates her birthday on Monday, became the first and only artist over the age of 90 to top the UK album charts in 2009 with We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.

And now she will issue Vera Lynn: National Treasure - The Ultimate Collection on 2 June, 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 coincides with Dame Vera's celebration of 90 years in showbusiness, following her stage debut at the age of seven.

It also falls in the middle of 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.

Additional reporting by Press Association