Chelsea Pensioners turn out for cheese ceremony

CHELSEA Pensioners, famous for their red uniforms, enjoyed the ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses in the Great Hall of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, south- west London, yesterday.

Richard Pears, the chief executive of the National Dairy Council, presented the pensioners with 250lb of English and Welsh cheeses, which were blessed by the Royal Hospital chaplain before being cut up with a ceremonial sword.

The ceremony dates from 1692, when a cheesemaker presented the newly opened Retreat for Veterans with some cheese.

The ceremony is watched by 'in-pensioners' of the Royal Hospital, which also celebrates its 300th anniversary this year.

(Photograph omitted)