War time singer from Stansted celebrates with Vera Lynn

PUBLISHED: 09:01 28 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:39 28 March 2017

Joan McAdams holds up a picture of herself in her singing hey-day. Picture: Alison Jenkins

Joan McAdams holds up a picture of herself in her singing hey-day. Picture: Alison Jenkins

Archant

A war time singer who risked her life to boost morale and entertain the Allied troops during the Second World War was front and centre at the Vera Lynn hundredth birthday sing-along at her care home in Stansted on Thursday, March 16.

CRM Sharon Butler, Joan & daughter Sandra Bliss, 16-03-17, Photo: Alison Jenkins.CRM Sharon Butler, Joan & daughter Sandra Bliss, 16-03-17, Photo: Alison Jenkins.

Joan McAdams, 95, of Mountfitchet House, Stansted, was, like forces sweetheart Vera Lynn, a member of the Entertainment National Service Association during the war.

Travelling throughout the UK, Joan performed in theatres, military hospitals and on the ship Defiance, helping to boost troops’ spirits by bringing music to their ears.

She said: “Singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ brought back so many memories. It was a terrible time, but also one full of community spirit and camaraderie.

“In spite of the air raids and fighting, we always kept singing and dancing to keep the soldier’s spirits lifted during the darker times. The phrase ‘the show must go on’ was our mantra!”

Joan also performed at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinsted, which cared for badly burned troops.

Allison Squires, home manager at Mountfitchet House said: “We had a brilliant day celebrating Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday and the residents thoroughly enjoyed singing memorable hits from their younger years.

“Singing can be a powerful reminiscence activity, and many of the residents will have grown up listening to Vera Lynn’s music.

“Even when memories become particularly hard to remember, often music can still be recalled, so a group sing-along can be calming for those living with dementia, and can encourage them to talk about memories from their childhood.

“It was great to be joined by family and friends for this special occasion, and to share memories together.

“Joan brought in photos of herself performing in the 1940s and proudly showed them to the team and fellow residents. It was a lovely celebration.”

More than 50 care homes took part in the nationwide celebration sing-song, putting together a music video tribute to the national treasure.

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