The Chelsea Pensioners entered the festive mood as they celebrated the annual “Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses”, an event organised by the Dairy Council. They were joined by Britain’s Got Talent star Charlotte Jaconelli and the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, as cheesemakers from across the UK donated their produce as a Christmas treat for the Pensioners.
The historic ceremony dates back to the founding of the Royal Hospital in 1692, when a local cheesemonger donated cheese to the “Red Breasts of Chelsea” for Christmas. This year, 64 different cheeses was donated by 27 different cheesemakers.
A 24.75kg Montgomery cheddar was ceremonially cut by Chelsea Pensioner Derek Walters BEM (82), who said: “It is an honour to represent my fellow Chelsea Pensioners today – cheese has always been an important part of our diet and we are always very happy to receive this delicious Christmas gift. The military is known for its traditions, but this is one of my favourites.”
Sandy Wilkie, Chairman of The Dairy Council, said: “The Ceremony of Christmas Cheeses is a much-loved event in the dairy calendar – it is a colourful, and historic, way of celebrating our great British cheeses.” The Dairy Council has supported the ceremony for 55 years.
The “Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses” was tweeted using the hashtag #CheeseCeremony
Chelsea Pensioner and former Typex Operator Helen Andrews visits the famous codebreaker site
Chelsea Pensioners have recognised the work efforts of staff who will be working over the Christmas period