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Chelsea Pensioners have a day out in Margate

Red coats and tricorn hats could be seen in Margate today as the Chelsea Pensioners enjoyed a day by the seaside.

A group of 20 residents of the Chelsea Royal Hospital for old or disabled soldiers visited The Hoy restaurant and bar for lunch and enjoyed a stroll by the seaside as they took in the sea breeze and searched for ice creams.

Major Phil Shannon is a captain of invalids who looks after the welfare of the pensioners and helped the day go to plan.

The Chelsea Pensioners in front of Margate's Turner Contemporary
The Chelsea Pensioners in front of Margate's Turner Contemporary

He said: "It is a lovely opportunity to get the pensioners out and about in Margate.

"Days like these keep them going, we came last year and it was a real hit so we are back!

"They all love the sea, it is in proximity to London and has nice amenities.

"All the pensioners enjoy coming to Margate and many have been on holiday in years gone by."

The day was organised by Theresa Ayeche and the red coats were thankful of their day out of the hospital.

John Barns has been a Chelsea Pensioner for the past 15 years.

He said: "I used to leave my caravan in the park opposite Manston Airport and it is surprising to see the area now, it has changed an awful lot since I used to come shopping with my wife.

"It is nice to come down here and makes a change to get out and about. Theresa works very hard organising these days."

The only female Chelsea Pensioner on the trip was 84-year-old Audrey Merton.

She said: "I enjoy the company, it's very friendly and everyone gets on well together.

"From what I've seen I think it is a beautiful town with a perfect beach, the food in The Hoy is lovely and we have been treated like royalty.

"I love Margate, I would come again and wouldn't mind spending a fortnight!"

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