Christmas is coming at the Pensioners’ pottery club

20th November 2019

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. 

Potters like John Riley, who had never tried a creative hobby before coming, found they were soon hooked: 

“The club is brilliant, I could never do it before. If I miss a week now, I feel miserable. Emily is a genius!” - John Riley

Mike Mason, who is also a keen painter, is another regular who believes it’s important to get involved with activities like this.

“Imagination is everything”, he observes, “And it’s definitely better than staying in your berth all day!” 

Mike’s pottery projects have included a Chelsea Pensioner shaped vase and a touching memento of D-Day, which he gave to friend, World War II veteran Bill Fitzgerald, who landed on Gold Beach. Mike combined the tile with a stone that his grandchildren found on Gold Beach and photographs of both Bill and his grandchildren finding the stone. 

George Parsons Pottery

George Parsons Pottery

Other keen potters are Jim Fellows, who Mike describes as “very creative”, and 100-year-old George Parsons who is currently crafting six little bowls with ‘100’ on them to give to his grandchildren.

Emily says the club has numerous benefits for the Pensioners’ wellbeing: 

“It benefits them both socially and creatively and it’s a nice way for them to come together. It’s very inclusive, connecting Pensioners of all ages from around the Hospital – and it’s amazing to see the talent emerging.” 

The Pensioner potters are particularly busy as Christmas approaches. They’re preparing for their annual festive exhibition – which promises to be quite a showstopper this year– as well as making a variety of pieces to sell at Christmas fairs, which helps to fund the group. 

Recently, the potters have been busy making snowmen (and a snow woman!). A whole range of distinctive characters are emerging, including some with Royal Hospital shako hats! The next stage is to paint and fire them. 

If you are a Friend of the Royal Hospital and plan to attend our Carol Concert on 2 December, look out for these lovable little characters at the Christmas bazaar in the Great Hall afterwards.

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