Norwich girl sings songs from the 40s

Let me introduce you to Lakenham singer and dancer Charlene Jean, who at the tender age of 24 is taking us all back to the war years with her tribute show.

Turn the clock back 70 years to a time when the sirens were sounding across Norwich, bombs were dropping from the skies and there was death and destruction all around.

The radio was a lifeline and at night families would gather round to be inspired by speeches from Winston Churchill and music by the forces sweetheart Vera Lynn.

In Norwich the music of the day filled the air at the Samson & Hercules and the Lido – packed by locals, our servicemen and GIs stationed across Norfolk.

Today the wounds of war have healed but the memories for those in their 80s and 90s are as vivid as ever. Many lost loved ones and they think of them all the time – wonder-ing what might have been.

And while the rest of us can only imagine what life must have been like for those who lived through the Second World War, we can all enjoy the music of the 1940s which lifted our hearts all those years ago...and still does.

Today I would like to introduce you to Lakenham singer and dancer Charlene Jean, who at the tender age of 24 is taking us all back to the war years with her tribute show Keep Smiling Through which proves just what a talented performer she is.

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'I find the music of the 1940s has a lot more meaning than some of the music in society today,' said the former Hewett schoolgirl who some may remember as Charlene Legard.

She first heard many of the songs she now performs while working as an entertainer in Majorca. 'I watched a show called Come Fly With Me,' she said. 'That was the first time I had come across a show like that or listened to the music properly. It made me realise how special and important this music was – and still is.

'It has so much more meaning than music today. During those times life was much tougher for people than it is now but there was so much community spirit around.

'People looked after each other and smiled through difficult times,' added Charlene.

'For me this is reflected through the music of the era and although I can never fully understand what people went through, I am proud to bring the songs back to life.'

She has been singing and dancing most of her life. She took part in Theatre Royal pantomines and various other shows before getting a degree in dance and drama at De Montfort University, Leicester.

This led to a career as a professional singer and entertainer all over this country and in the European hotspots and work as a drama teacher in Norwich.

Charlene has already performed her 60-minute, one-woman, Keep Smiling Through Show for the Royal British Legion in Kent and is due to perform for the legion at Hunstanton later in the year. Her singalong show features songs by the likes of Vera Lynn, The Andrew Sisters, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and many more.

More details by visiting or emailing

To hear Charlene sing click on the link at the top right of this page.