Chelsea Pensioners come face to face with iconic Tommy statue

Chelsea Pensioners answered the bugles' call to come face to face with the North East's most iconic soldier.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 29th August 2018, 6:00 am
Chelsea Pensioners on their visit to see the Tommy statue at Seaham.
Chelsea Pensioners on their visit to see the Tommy statue at Seaham.

The scarlet-coated veterans visited Seaham to see the town’s famous Tommy statue, discover the history of military music, and get hands on with the Durham Light Infantry Collection.

The Chelsea Pensioners chart their history back even further than the DLI, to more than 325 years ago and the reign of King Charles II.

Chelsea Pensioners on their visit to see the Tommy statue at Seaham.

Any former soldier of the British Army over the age of 65, who faces spending their advanced years alone, can apply to reside at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, which is also home to the annual Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.

Former Royal Engineer Terry Conlon, ex-Royal Green Jacket Fred Boomer-Hawkins and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers veteran Ricky Graham posed for photos with fellow visitors to the seaside town – including Durham Light Infantry servicemen - before visiting the When The Bugle Calls touring exhibition at Seaham Library, and talking to children at a special DLI Collection education session.

Terry, who was born in Seaham, said: “It was absolutely brilliant – we were completely blown away.

“It was a truly thought provoking event and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in County Durham.”

Chelsea Pensioners on their visit to see the Tommy statue at Seaham.

Over the past nine months When the Bugle Calls has welcomed thousands of visitors to County Durham venues including Seaham Library.

The free touring exhibition, from Durham County Council and The Trustees of the DLI, explores the role of the regimental band in the British Army, using objects and archival material from the Durham Light Infantry Collection to show how music helped soldiers rally their regiment and keep morale alive during the most dark and dangerous times.

Durham County Council’s head of culture and sport, Steve Howell, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Chelsea Pensioners and to show them some of the many ways that we continue to honour and remember the service and sacrifice of our region’s brave men and women.”

Chelsea Pensioners on their visit to see the Tommy statue at Seaham.
Chelsea Pensioners on their visit to see the Tommy statue at Seaham.