Chelsea Pensioners ring in the festive season with some Lyburn Cheese
7th December 2016: The Chelsea Pensioners enjoyed a taste of Salisbury as Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers took centre stage at the annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London today.
Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers kindly donated 8kg of Old Winchester and Stoney Cross for the Chelsea Pensioners to enjoy over the festive season, a tradition that dates back over 300 years and celebrates the role of cheese in feeding the armed forces.
The centuries old tradition began in 1692 when the Royal Hospital asked a local cheesemonger to provide the Pensioners with cheese as a Christmas treat. Cheesemakers across the UK have continued this tradition ever since.
The Chelsea Pensioners were joined by The Military Wives Choir who were the guests of honour at this year’s Ceremony. The Choir delighted the Pensioners with their rendition of Christmas classics Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bells.
Ash Amirahmadi, chairman of The Dairy Council, said: “The Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses is one of the dairy industry’s most treasured events. It is a delight to be kicking off the festive season with such a joyful and colourful occasion.
“Cheesemakers from across the country have once again done us proud by donating an outstanding 246kg of fine quality British cheese.
“Cheese and dairy products represent a very important part of the veterans’ diet and it has been great to celebrate this with the Chelsea Pensioners and the Military Wives Choir today.”
Chelsea Pensioner Mary Johnston cut the ceremonial cheese during the ceremony, a 24kg Montgomery Cheddar donated by J.A. & E. Montgomery, which marks the first time a woman has ever cut the ceremonial Christmas cheese.