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Chelsea pensioners and fund raising                  

                                        August 2010  

Chelsea Pensioners and fund raising.

Those men in scarlet

chelsea pensionersAlmost everyone will have heard of the Chelsea Pensioners and most of us will have seen at some time in our lives pictures and footage of these pensioners dressed in their stunning scarlet outfits and possibly marching at various formal occasions and events.

The Chelsea Pensioners attract a great deal of support across the UK but in fact there are quite a lot of us that do not really know who they are or what being a Chelsea Pensioner means.

Chelsea Pensioners is an informal name for ex members of the British Army who have now retired and are living at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a hospital that acts as a retirement and nursing home in central London.

It all has a long history dating back to 1689, when the Royal Hospital was under construction and King Charles II introduced a system to distribute army pensions. The pensions were for all former soldiers who had been injured in service or who had served more than 20 years. When the hospital was completed, it was decided that pensioners who wished or needed to could become “in-pensioners”, surrendering the pension in return for living at the Royal Hospital.

This in essence is still the case today. Accommodation is available at the Royal Hospital for mainly former non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the British Army who are 65 years or older and in receipt of an army service or war disability pension. They must also be free from any obligations to support a wife, partner or family. Commissioned officers are eligible if they have served at least 12 years of non-commissioned service and from 2009 women pensioners have also been admitted to the Hospital, although it is still predominantly male at the moment.

If you are accepted at the Royal Hospital, you surrender your army pension and in return receive full board, lodging, clothing and full medical care.

Chelsea pensionerAlong with all the support for everyday living and medical needs, the pensioners enjoy the social life of mixing with other ex service personnel. The grounds at the Royal Hospital are magnificent and the architecture is stunning. Facilities include a licensed club, snooker room, cyber cafe, library, arts and craft centre, putting and bowling greens, croquet lawn and allotment gardens. Trips are arranged regularly including to various battlefields overseas and there are also occasional parades when the pensioners put on their splendid red uniforms that has helped to make them so famous.

Many of the more active pensioners help out in the Hospital’s museum or other areas.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is not owned by the state and thus cares for, maintains and modernises its unique historic environment through its own efforts and those of its supporters. That means that fund raising is a key aspect. To help this aspect, the Royal Hospital run a very special “Friends” system. Becoming a Friend means you join a network of people who become ambassadors for the hospital. You also have an opportunity to join in the social life of the community as well.

More information on the Chelsea Pensioners is available on  or call 020 7881 5517, or email



One new idea to raise funds for the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Chelsea Pensioners is a lovely cook book Salute to Cooking. This book is packed with recipes from the top celebrities of today, including aristocracy, film, politics, business and tv stars, but even better, the recipes are all very cookable – and very tasty too! The book makes a terrific birthday and Christmas gift idea – visit the Royal Hospital Chelsea’s online shop and click under books to find Salute to Cooking, £14 95p.


Michael ScottAnother fund raising idea comes from Michael Scott, the famous car enthusiast and founder of the famous 96 car club and Chelsea Auto Legends concept. Michael is a great supporter of the Royal Hospital and runs regular fund raising events in aid of the pensioners. He visited the climbing wall at the Retirement Show recently when he climbed the wall – taking the Salute to Cooking book with him!

Michael’s next fund raising event is on September 5th when he is running the Chelsea Auto Legends event at the hospital. Entrance fee is £12 to see a spectacular collection of the finest Le Mans sportscars - a great family day out and a lovely way to support the Royal Chelsea Hospital.



Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.




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