Cleo Laine postage stamps issued

To mark Dame Cleo Laine's 85th birthday, a hundred sheets of limited edition postage stamps have been released this month.

Cleo Laine commemorative stampDame Cleo turned 85 last month, and was presented with the first sheet of her personalised stamps at a birthday concert held at The Stables, a venue founded by Dame Cleo and her late husband, Sir John Dankworth.

Cleo Laine is the latest jazzer to receive this postal honour, with the US and France collaborating on an Edith Piaf/Miles Davis set of stamps earlier this year, and Louis Armstrong being similarly celebrated with a set of stamps issued in his hometown of New Orleans in 1995.

Middlesex-born Cleo Laine, known for her kaleidoscopic range and inventive scat singing, as well as for her frequent jazz collaborations with John Dankworth, is arguably one of the greatest jazz singers of the 20th century still performing today. Coming to the world of jazz singing in her 20s, she joined John Dankworth's band and the two were married in 1958. Throughout the 80s and 90s she also took to musical theatre, performing on Broadway and in Colette, a musical written by her husband.

The post office issuing these special edition stamps, Bletchley Park Post Office, has a rich history of its own: the original undercover mailroom for the 'Enigma' code breakers, it was used for top-secret operations during the war, something that only became known in 1998 when a documentary was filmed there.

You can buy a set of Dame Cleo Laine's collectible stamps only from Bletchley Park Post Office, through their website, by phone on 01908 363489, or collect them in person: Bletchley Park Post Office, The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB. Each sheet is signed personally by Dame Cleo, contains 20 first-class stamps, and is priced at £50, the cost including a charitable donation to the Wavendon Foundation.

Sally Evans-Darby

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