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Jenny Martin and Dame Vera Lynn

Published: 3 Jul 2020  - updated: 24 Sep 2020

Jenny Martin’s Eight-Year Association with Dame Vera Lynn

SilverWood author Jenny Martin was fortunate to have one of her poems, 'Brief Encounter’, included in the poetry anthology, Poems of the Poppies, published 2010 by SilverWood Books to raise funds for the charity FLOW for All, which helps those affected by war. This poem earned Jenny a seat at the table three places from Dame Vera at the launch in the Grand Hotel, Brighton.

Jenny’s inspiration for the poem was her memories on the journeys between Lancaster and Windermere of the famous Carnforth station tea ladies who patrolled the platform handing jam jars of tea to the soldiers wishing them 'Good luck. Safe Return’. Her father received one on his way to a Normandy beach in 1944. He got back. But Jenny’s mindset remained that of an abandoned small child who had survived the war on 'half a parent’.

Then in 2000, on a visit to the Western Front and the Normandy beaches, Jenny was jolted out of it by sad remembrance tokens, like the card attached to a little bunch of wilted flowers: 'Dear Daddy I loved you so’. She set about raising funds for the British Legion with, amongst other things, several booklets and two SilverWood books: Aftermath, a poetry and short stories collection to mark the centenary of the start of World War 1, and In Our Fathers’ Footsteps, a biography based on her and husband Paul’s experience of war to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1.

Jenny will always be proud of Dame Vera’s lovely foreword to Aftermath. By way of thanks, Jenny sent her a copy of In Our Fathers’ Footsteps. She received a warm letter of appreciation from Dame Vera who, as Jenny learned from a Burma veteran via his son at the book launch, was there for the troops: 'Home doesn’t seem so far away now.’

Jenny points out that her microcosm of Dame Vera’s great achievements was a team effort: author Nik Perring, Bollington Library Writing Group leader, for persuading Jenny to try writing poetry and editing her books; former Chairman of the Legion’s Macclesfield branch, Len Johnson, now in his nineties, who persuaded her to ask Dame Vera for a foreword to Aftermath because 'I know she’ll do it’; Helen Hart of SilverWood Books for the opportunity to meet Dame Vera and publishing the books with such beautiful covers, and above all, Dame Vera herself.

“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins