Dairy producers donate 268kg of cheese to Chelsea Pensioners

The annual event puts a spotlight on the British dairy industry while commemorating the country's veterans
The annual event puts a spotlight on the British dairy industry while commemorating the country's veterans

Generous producers have supplied the Chelsea Pensioners 268kg of British cheeses during an annual tradition which celebrates veterans and the dairy industry.

The 60th year of the Annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses commenced at the Royal Hospital on Wednesday (4 December).

This year saw donations from cheesemakers topping 268kg, consisting of cheeses from across the UK and including the ceremonial Montgomery cheddar weighing 25kg.

This year’s ceremony marked another key anniversary, with 2019 being the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.



The organisation behind the tradition, Dairy UK, said the event highlights the British public's love for cheese - with 92% of consumers purchasing it on a regular basis.

Speaking at the ceremony, the trade body's chair, Paul Vernon, highlighted the historic role of cheese within British society.



Cheshire cheese was mentioned in the doomsday book and cheese was used from Roman times to feed marching armies.

Mr Vernon also highlighted the role ‘Government Cheese’ played in feeding the population throughout the war.

Chelsea Pensioner Monica Parrott, the first ever female Pensioner, cut the ceremonial Montgomery Cheddar
Chelsea Pensioner Monica Parrott, the first ever female Pensioner, cut the ceremonial Montgomery Cheddar

Cutting the ceremonial Montgomery Cheddar donated by J A E Montgomery was Chelsea Pensioner Monica Parrott.

She marked another timely anniversary of ten years since the first female Pensioner was admitted to the Royal Hospital.

Monica joined the Women's Royal Army Corps in 1964 and served over five years in the army, before reaching the rank of Sergeant.

After leaving the army, she continued to give back to the community, becoming a Mental Health Nurse, caring for individuals in the community until her retirement in 2001, and becoming a Chelsea Pensioner in 2017.

Monica said: “It’s a privilege to be asked to cut the cheese at this year’s ceremony. It is so kind of the UK cheesemongers to continue this tradition, and the Chelsea Pensioners will be sure to enjoy these incredible cheeses for as long as they last.”