The Soldiers’ Arts Academy links serving and veteran Army personnel and their families with professionals from the creative arts. Through a range of workshops, projects and productions they give participants the opportunity to discover new interests, recover from difficult experiences, transition into civilian life and even find new careers. 

Chelsea Pensioner Paul Whittick, who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, has always been keen on keeping fit. In the light of lockdown, he says staying physically and mentally active is more important than ever.

This Christmas, we’re delighted to be sharing the Royal Hospital’s first-ever handmade advent calendar. From the photograph of the our colonnade – which forms the backdrop of the calendar – to the treasures hidden behind each door, every part of the calendar has been made by a Chelsea Pensioner. 

The Royal Hospital’s weekly pottery club, run by Emily Hall, is very popular with the Pensioners – particularly at this time of year, as they plan their festive projects. 

Alan Rutter has completed his epic Western Front walk. He’s lost a stone, gained new friends and has memories he’ll cherish forever. He’s also helped to raise a magnificent £3,400 for the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Although Chelsea Pensioners Rick Graham and Ernie Boyden are separated by a generation, they bond over the hobby they share. Both are keen painters and enjoy working together in the Royal Hospital’s art room.

The Governor, Sir Adrian Bradshaw, and the Chelsea Pensioners were delighted yesterday to welcome to the Royal Hospital Chelsea another Veteran, Johnny Mercer MP, who completed three tours of Afghanistan.

January is a time for resolutions, new gym memberships and diets. As we find ourselves at the start of National Obesity Week, we share some top tips from Chelsea Pensioner, Paul Whittick, to help sustain your fitness regime.

According to Government figures, around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. John experienced intense loneliness when his wife passed away and tells us how he learnt to overcome his feelings of social isolation. 

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Grinling Gibbons statue of Charles II
The story behind the statue

On 3 August 2021 it will be 300 years since Grinling Gibbons’ death. Gibbons is celebrated as arguably the greatest decorative wood carver in British history. However, at the Royal Hospital we know him as the artist responsible for the striking gilded statue of our founder that stands in Figure Court – named in its honour. 

HRH Duke of Gloucester meeting Pensioner Tony Judge
Hope and happiness as Chelsea Pensioners celebrate the return of Founder’s Day

Founder’s Day is the highlight of the Royal Hospital’s calendar. Ever since 1692, it has been held on or close to 29 May – the birth of King Charles II and the date of his restoration to the throne. 

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