Vera Lynn – Colwall Court Bexhill and Hastings

supplied by Richard J. Porter

Ewan Smith… Met her there, used to help my mother out with her charity work.

Jacqui Gibson… That used to be a great charity… we often took our children there. Heaps of stars would were there…. it was a heap of fun. Including a dear friend Peggy Cummings who was a dear friend of Vera Lyns

cutting supplied by Jim Breeds

Jim Breeds… Vera Lynn in Hastings.
On Saturday 17th August 1957, Vera Lynn, who died today aged 103, was in Hastings. 22 town criers from all parts of the country were in town for the National Town Criers’ Championship, held on the Parade Extension in front the pier. There was particular local interest in that year’s championships because the Hastings Town Crier, Mr. W. A. Cruttenden, had won the title the previous year. This year’s judges were to be Vera Lynn, “the popular singer”, and Norman “Don’t Laugh at Me” Wisdom, “acclaimed as Britain’s foremost funny man”. The Town Criers marched in procession from the Town Hall to the White Rock Pavilion “dressed in their picturesque uniforms and ringing their handbells” to be greeted by the Mayor, Alderman Hussey, who took their salute. A fanfare of trumpets heralded the arrival of each competitor on the platform specially erected on the Parade Extension. The Hastings Crier lost his title to 54 year old Herbert (“Whisper”) Waldron of Great Torrington in Devon. Vera Lynn, Norman Wisdom and the other judges sat behind a screen so that they could not see the Criers during the contest. Vera later said that she had never enjoyed herself so much, or laughed so hard at Norman Wisdom’s antics. Norman himself was dressed “in his tight little suit and familiar cap” and was “nearly mobbed, particularly by autograph hunters, and his passage to and from the Pavilion was spectacular”. The competitors, judges and officials later took tea in the lower hall of the Pavillion. Miss Lynn later said that she would not have missed this event for anything. Pictured are the Mayor, the Mayoress, Norman Wisdom, “Whisper” Waldron, the winner, and Vera Lynn. Source of story and photo: Hastings and St. Leonards Observer, 17th and 24th August 1957 editions. ©Johnston Press plc.

Richard Moore… Dame Vera was Chairman for a couple of years at Collwall Court,  in Bexhill where I raised funds for , five years.

Mark Sevia… Vera Lynn was the founder of the Charity Stars Organisation for Spastics and a board member for many years until it closed

Richard Porter… The girl is the daughter of my wife

Peter Houghton… I remember those days at Colwall Court

Wendy Weaver… I used to look forward to this each year

Leigh Mitchell… Used to go there in the 70s! I have a photo of me when I was about 17 standing by Harry Secombes car!


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