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Norwich street serenaded with wartime classics to mark VE Day

PUBLISHED: 16:48 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:48 08 May 2020

Charlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: Albanpix

Charlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: Albanpix

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A singer has treated a Norwich street to a rendition of wartime classics to mark VE Day.

Charlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: AlbanpixCharlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: Albanpix

From Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again to The Andrews Sisters and hits by Judy Garland, the residents of Beeching Road in Lakenham heard them all on Friday as they enjoyed a private performance of wartime classics to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The songs were performed by Charlene Girling, who chose the street because it is where her parents, who are currently self isolating, live.

Setting up in the road for all to hear, and while maintaining a safe distance from others, Mrs Girling’s performance was watched by her parents and their neighbours, some of whom even enjoyed a dance.

Mrs Girling, 32, from Norwich, who used to be head of youth services at the recently closed OPEN Youth Trust, said she first had the idea for the performance after all her booked VE Day gigs were cancelled because of coronavirus.

Charlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: AlbanpixCharlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: Albanpix

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She said: “My dad still really enjoys that music, and both my parents have been self-isolating for 12 weeks for health reasons so I thought it would be nice for them to be able to see me perform.”

Mrs Girling, who performs under the stage name Charlene Jean, said she was introduced to the genre of music as a child.

“My grandparents introduced me to 1940s music, particularly my mum’s dad. My dad was only three when the war ended but he remembers the music quite well.

Charlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: AlbanpixCharlene Girling (stage name Charlene Jean) performed 1940s songs on Beeching Road in Lakenham to mark VE Day, Picture: Albanpix

“When I was younger he would drive me to my first few gigs, and my mum just always loved watching me sing,” she said.

Inviting the whole street to listen in on the performance, Mrs Girling said some neighbours had made bunting in an effort to join in on the celebrations.

Speaking ahead of the performance, she said: “I think it will get quite emotional, I think the songs are all quite patriotic, so that will make it quite emotional, particularly with We’ll Meet Again I think in the circumstances those words will hit home, so that might bring some tears.

“But what’s nice about it is actually quite a lot of places across the country are doing things in their front gardens and it’s bringing communities together.”


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