Chelsea Pensioner Sandy
(Photo: Charlie Surbey)

Gordon "Sandy" Sanders

"I am very proud to be a Chelsea Pensioner. I served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers between 1952 and 1976. In 1986 my wife was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and we decided to move to Portugal. By 1999, she was so ill that we had to return to England in the hope of finding a kidney donor. We found a donor... me.

It's amazing when you think about it. The chances of it happening are so slim. I was 65 then, too old for an op like that really, but it gave my wife another seven and a half years of happiness. She died on 12th July 2007. We'd been married for 48 years. 

Being at the Royal Hospital has taken away the loneliness of my bereavement. My days are full. the biggest thing that keeps you going is the banter - no one has a good word to say about anyone else and we wouldn't have it any other way! It keeps us alive!"

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Pensioner Leo Tighe sitting on a bench on the Royal Hospital's colonnade
Royal Hospital in the news

The Royal Hospital welcomed BBC's Defence Correspondent Johnathan Beale to see what life is like for the pensioners under these new restrictions and speak with the Hospital's Governor, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw.

Wren Chapel at the Royal Hospital with table at entrance with hand sanitizer
A shared purpose at the Royal Hospital

Healthcare systems in countries around the world are facing a considerable challenge in their Coronavirus preparation and response. The increased risk to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions is putting pressure on organisations which have a primary focus on caring for older people.

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