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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Pensioners holding a Christmas wreath outside
Festive thoughts from the Chelsea Pensioners

Christmas is almost here and although life is still far from normal the Chelsea Pensioners are enjoying being part of our community at this special time. We are celebrating in many of the traditional ways at the Royal Hospital – while ensuring guidelines are followed and the Chelsea Pensioners stay as safe as possible. 

Stirring of the Christmas Pudding Ceremony 2021
Festive fun at the stirring of the Christmas Pudding ceremony

Chelsea Pensioners and staff gathered together in the Great Hall on the last day of November to usher in the start of Advent with the first of the Royal Hospital’s annual Christmas traditions. 

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