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The BBC's Robert Hall reports
"It is an extraordinary mix of memorabilia"
 real 28k

Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 13:09 GMT
Dame Vera's time-capsule treasures
Dame Vera's singing entertained WWII's forces
Dame Vera's singing entertained WWII's forces
Mementoes of forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn have been placed in a huge time capsule after a nationwide poll named her personality of the century.

The items are being sealed in the Millennium Vault 2000 in Guildford, Surrey, which will not be opened until the year 3000.

They include a life-size enlargement of one of her most famous World War II photographs.

Her autobiography will also be shut into the 100 cubic metre airtight vault located in the side of a hill in the grounds of Guildford Castle.

Dame Vera, 83, won more than a fifth of the votes when members of the public were invited to name a personality who represented the spirit of the 20th Century.

A mini will be included in the capsule
She was one of 120 names put forward by voters of all age groups, who were polled at shopping centres in towns and cities across the UK, winning 604 of the 2,850 votes.

Dame Vera said: "Sixty years ago there was a poll with the service chaps in France and I came out top, that's how I got called the forces' sweetheart. Little did I think that 60 years hence I would win another poll."

The singer is best remembered for her simple, sentimental songs, including We'll Meet Again and White Cliffs of Dover, which helped capture the wartime mood.

Her popularity was not just confined to the UK - she became the first British artiste to top the US hit parade.

Other souvenirs of the century include a Mini car, which has been specially treated to stop it decaying, one of Yehudi Menuhin's violins, samples of British currency and the Spirit of Ecstasy statuette from the front of a Rolls-Royce car.

The veteran singer helped weld shut a steel door into the vault which was then encased in tonnes of concrete.

The Rolls Royce Spirit of Ecstasy
Rolls Royce Spirit of Ecstasy statuette
Vault organiser Peter Sutton said: "We thought it was important to `send' someone in the public to the future in the time capsule - someone who the people of the year 2000 regarded as being particularly special.

"Dame Vera was an excellent choice and a worthy ambassador to present to the people of the next millennium."

Guildford Borough Council's project also features letters to the people of the year 3000 from hundreds of members of the public and from personalities including Prime Minister Tony Blair, Tory leader William Hague, and actors Robert Powell and David Suchet.

Also in the vault is a section of Brooklands race track, a Sony Walkman, a pair of trainers, hi-tech predictions of the future and a selection of jokes.

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25 Nov 99 | UK
Dame Vera's home burgled
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