KATHERINE Jenkins will sing a virtual duet of We’ll Meet Again with Dame Vera Lynn and Patrick Stewart will lead a cast of actors playing Sir Winston Churchill at a concert to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
The event will be part of BBC Radio 2’s D-Day activity, which culminates in a special D-Day 70 Years On event at the Royal Albert Hall (8-10pm).
Hosts Jeremy Vine, Dermot O’Leary and Louise Minchin will re-tell the key moments of D-Day alongside music from the BBC Concert Orchestra, which will be joined by a band featuring musicians drawn from all three UK Armed Forces.
International mezzo-soprano Jenkins and Dame Vera will perform the virtual duet of a song which will have been in the hearts and minds of the soldiers who travelled to Normandy.
Accompanied by archive audio and footage and the BBC Concert Orchestra, Katherine will sing a song made famous more than 70 years ago.
Dame Vera (pictured left) said: “It makes me proud and honoured to know that We’ll Meet Again is still so popular, over seven decades after it was first recorded.
“I remember that day as clearly as if it were yesterday and it was wonderful that this particular song became the one people most associated with the war era. For it to be brought to life again, dueting with Katherine Jenkins, is just perfect for the occasion.”
Acclaimed folk singer Seth Lakeman will perform a song written about his grandfather, Sergeant Kenneth Lakeman of the Royal Corps of Signals,who served at D-Day. Sgt Lakeman took a young Seth to Arromanches Beach when he was 13 years old to recount that fateful day.
Seth explained: “It will be a real honour to perform King and Country with the BBC Concert Orchestra. The song was written when my Grandfather was still alive.
“As a family we are incredibly proud of him and the part played during WW2 and D-Day. It tells a story of uncertainty and longing that a whole country must have felt whilst waiting for their loved ones to return. To visit Arromanches with him was very moving and made a huge impact on me and I always feel that his memory is preserved within this song.”
He said: “I am delighted and proud to be part of this anniversary commemoration. Churchill wrote English to be spoken and I have always loved quoting his remark that ‘The greatest virtue is courage, because it makes all the other virtues possible’.”
The D-Day operation during the Second World War was the largest amphibious invasion in world history and was executed by land, sea and air.
Approximately 156,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches – Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword -of Normandy, France – in a move which marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War.
More than two million Servicemen and women took part in planning and executing this auspicious and daring campaign. Seventy years later, on 6 June 2014, the world will pause to commemorate their success and also their sacrifice.
Profits from The Royal Albert Hall concert will be donated to SSAFA, The Royal British Legion and SkillForce.
For ticket information, visit the Radio 2 or The Royal Albert Hall websites at www.bbc.co.uk/radio2 or www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/d-day-70/default.aspx