Scarlets in the sky

Tomorrow Chelsea Pensioners Ray Pearson and Charmaine Coleman will skydive from 13,000 feet, freefalling for one minute at 120 miles per hour, to raise funds for the Royal Hospital Chelsea and ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity.  

Ray (77) and Charmaine (81) intend to wear their iconic Scarlet uniforms as they jump from the sky over Netheravon airfield alongside The Tigers, who are the Army’s freefall display team from The Princess of Wales Regiment.

Ray spent his childhood in Wiltshire before serving in the Royal Engineers where he instructed soldiers on building bridges and using explosives. Despite having a fearless nature, Ray has never done a skydive until now. 

He said, “I’ve never done a parachute jump before, but I’ve always wanted to.  I saw that ABF wanted people to sign up to the skydive and I thought I’d like to add this to my catalogue of life experiences as well as raise funds for ABF and The Royal Hospital Chelsea, which is where I live.  I am petrified but excited at the same time.”

Fellow skydiver 82-year-old Charmaine Coleman said: “When I was in the army I did a three week freefall course in Germany and I loved it immensely.  I haven’t done any parachute jumps since, and that was in 1970.  

“When I found out two weeks ago that fellow Chelsea Pensioner Ray was doing it I thought I’d love to do another one.  I suppose I am a bit adventurous, but it’s a wonderful thing to do and I’d recommend it to anyone.  I’m not nervous about it, I’m very excited.”

To make a donation in support of the Chelsea Pensioners’ brave feat, visit

Find out how you can help the Royal Hospital Chelsea. 


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