Salute to the 1940s in South Shields - sounds of Vera Lynn and George Formby to feature in fundraising show

War time hits and music hall magic will fill the air as South Shields salutes the 1940s.
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Events organiser Ron Smith, from South Shields, is bringing the ‘Salute to the 1940s’ show to his home town, raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

The show will take to the stage at Armstrongs Bar in Stanhope Road, South Shields, on Good Friday, April 15, featuring tributes to the likes of Vera Lynn and George Formby.

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Also on the bill are tributes to The Andrews Sisters, Gracie Fields, GI Frank Sinatra and Sgt Major and Lofty, singing the classic ‘Whispering Grass’.

The Salute to the 1940s performers.The Salute to the 1940s performers.
The Salute to the 1940s performers.

Keeping everyone in line will be Warden Braithwaite, the Air Raid Warden.

George Formby will be portrayed by North East entertainer Colin Bourdiec, who has been travelling around the UK with the show for more than ten years

“It’s such a pleasure to be playing close to home,” said Colin.

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"We have taken the show as far south as Cornwall, which is a long journey, so to be on the doorstep is a real treat.”

Lorri Brown portrays Vera Lynn.Lorri Brown portrays Vera Lynn.
Lorri Brown portrays Vera Lynn.

Portraying the role of Vera Lynn, the forces sweetheart, is multi award winning tribute artiste, Lorrie Brown. Lorrie has been performing a tribute to Dame Vera Lynn for more than a quarter of a century.

Lorrie won a national award in 2013 where she was named the UK’s No.1 Vera Lynn tribute.

And Dame Vera herself invited Lorrie and Gary Birtles, who is also involved in the show, to come and meet her.

"I was like an excited schoolgirl," said Lorrie.

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"We went to meet her in her home and spent three hours chatting to her and her daughter Virginia.

“We talked about her time entertaining the troops all around the world and especially her time in Burma where she “sang in the same harsh conditions that the troops had to live in.

“Going to meet her was a truly magical time and both Virginia and Dame Vera were the perfect hosts and made us so welcome.

“We presented her with a book of messages from her many fans who remembered her during the war.

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“There were a lot of very touching messages and she was overwhelmed by them.”

The Salute to the 1940s show has been touring the UK for the last ten years, and has appeared in theatres and at 1940s events across the country.

The included the reopening of the Ramsgate Tunnels in 2014. The tunnels, in Kent, were used to shelter the local population during the Blitz.

Gary Birtles said the show was particularly special.

“It was amazing,” he said. ‘We were performing deep inside the tunnels where people actually used to live during the war.

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"Some of the population were so afraid to go outside, they would actually make their homes in the tunnels.”

The team will be doing their best to bring a 1940s feel when the show comes to South Shields, with the stage decorated in bunting and flags.

The show starts at 2.30pm. Tickets are £12 and available by contacting the organiser of the event, Ron Smith on 07701065173.