Haywards Heath dairy plays part in Chelsea Pensioners’ centuries-old cheese ceremony
A Haywards Heath dairy took part in celebrations at a centuries-old, cheese-based ceremony.
High Weald Dairy donated Saint Giles Blue, Brighton Blue and Sussex Marble cheeses for the Annual Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses, held at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.
The tradition can be traced back to 1692, when the hospital asked a cheesemonger to donate cheese to its pensioners as a festive treat.
Cheesemakers from across the UK mark the occasion annually – and the dairy was among those to donate a total of 268kg of the foodstuff for this year’s ceremony.
Cutting the ceremonial Montgomery Cheddar was Chelsea Pensioner Monica Parrott, marking the anniversary of ten years since the first female Chelsea Pensioner was admitted to the Royal Hospital.
This year’s ceremony also marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Monica said: “It’s a privilege to be asked to cut the cheese at this year’s ceremony.
“It is so kind that Dairy UK and all of the UK cheesemongers continue this tradition, and the Chelsea Pensioners will be sure to enjoy these incredible cheeses for as long as they last!”
Also taking part in the ceremony were pensioners David Godwin and Oswell Telford.
David joined the Army in 1968 and went on to serve for three years with the Royal Corps of Transport and then for 20 years with in the Royal Military Police. He joined the Royal Hospital in July 2019.
Oswell joined the Army in 1958 and badged to the Coldstream Guards. He saw service in UK, Northern Ireland and Germany and was discharged in 1988 having served for 30 years, joining the Royal Hospital in November 2015.
Paul Vernon, Dairy UK chairman, said: “It’s an honour to be here at the Royal Hospital, celebrating the 60th year of the cheese ceremony.
“The generous donations from our cheesemakers given gladly are just a small token of the thanks we give to our brave veterans.”