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Dame Vera Lynn

LEP column paid tribute to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn 150 150 mhamer

LEP column paid tribute to the ‘wonderful’ Vera Lynn

Hi folks! I had no idea when I wrote this May @leponline column it would be as an epitaph to this wonderful performer and humanitarian. R.I.P. our Vera!

Jimmy Cricket’s latest newspaper column was devoted to Dame Vera Lynn – just weeks before she died.

Dame Vera passed away on Thursday (18 June) aged 103.

She was known the Forces’ Sweetheart, whose songs helped raise morale in World War Two.

The Queen, Prince Charles and Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney were among those to pay their respects to her.

People knew her best for her wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again.

Jimmy’s column in the Preston-based Lancashire Post on 18 May (above) was all about Dame Vera.

The headline read: Remembering the forces’ WWII sweetheart Vera Lynn.

He tweeted on the day she died: “Hi folks! I had no idea when I wrote this May@leponline column it would be as an epitaph to this wonderful performer and humanitarian.
“R.I.P. our Vera! Performing arts

The BBC reported: “Six weeks ago, ahead of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Dame Vera said simple acts of bravery and sacrifice still define our nation.

“A week later, she became the oldest artist to get a top 40 album in the UK.”

The BBC recalled that Dame Vera had sold more than a million records by the age of 22.

The article added that she “was also remembered for singing The White Cliffs Of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, I’ll Be Seeing You, Wishing and If Only I Had Wings.

“The Queen echoed her famous WW2 anthem during a speech to Britons who were separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown in April, telling the nation: ‘We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.'”

A pleasure working for showbiz legend & friend 150 150 mhamer

A pleasure working for showbiz legend & friend

Always a pleasure working for showbiz Legend and friend, Mr Johnny Manns, (in conjunction with Barbara Lindsey), alongside my other friend and musical arranger David Carter, with fellow pro’s Con and Dec, “The Bachelors” tonight at the Ivy Leaf Club!

Jimmy Cricket worked again recently with someone he describes as a “showbiz legend”.

The Northern Irish comedian was performing on a show at the Ivy Leaf Club in Whittlesey, Peterborough on Friday 19 October, which was organised by Johnny Mans and his production team in association with Barbara Lindsey.

Jimmy, 73, posted on social media: “Always a pleasure working for showbiz Legend and friend, Mr Johnny Mans, (in conjunction with Barbara Lindsey), alongside my other friend and musical arranger David Carter, with fellow pros Con and Dec, “The Bachelors” tonight at the Ivy Leaf Club!”

Johnny is the third generation of a showbiz family with his grandfather being a Yorkshire comedian and his grandmother a dancer with the Tiller Girls, a popular dance troupe famous for their high-kicking routines and who once counted former House Of Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd as a member.

His mother also became a Tiller Girl, as well as being a pantomime producer and a dance school teacher. Johnny’s six sisters were professional dancers, one of them touring with Arthur Lucan (Old Mother Riley) and another in Kirby’s Flying Ballet.

Johnny performed in his mother’s pantomime productions from the age of eight and after several years he developed his own comedy act and became one of the famous Carroll Levis discoveries, appearing on television from the Aston Studios in Birmingham.

Over the years Johnny appeared in theatres with star names of that era, including the famous American comedy duo The Bernard Brothers.

He also worked with Derek Roy, Jimmy Young, Marty Wilde, Ronnie Hilton and for a while joined the holiday camp world, first as a Redcoat and then a short spell as a Bluecoat, becoming an entertainment manager at the age of just 21.

The world of clubland also beckoned and he performed throughout the UK. After five summer seasons in Jersey in various productions, he eventually turned his hand to producing his own shows, being an agent and manager and also a concert promoter.

Since the early 1980s, he has been a prominent name in the entertainment world, having managed major stars such as Sir Norman Wisdom, Anne Shelton, Max Bygraves, Danny La Rue, Nicholas Parsons, Jon Pertwee and many other celebrities.

He has also produced and promoted shows for big names such as Des O’Connor, Cilla Black, The Platters, Bob Monkhouse, Val Doonican, Suzi Quatro, Little & Large, Tom O’Connor, John Inman and Dame Vera Lynn.

In 2009 he took over Encore magazine, printed every two months for the entertainment industry.

Charity is also a major part of Johnny’s life and over the past 40 years he has been involved with many fundraising organisations, including the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund (now the Royal Variety Charity), the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and the British Heart Foundation.

Johnny, who is also a family man, has produced shows at Buckingham Palace in the company of several members of the Royal Family.