Military Life

Chelsea Pensioner And BGT Winner Colin Thackery Tells Nation ‘We Have To Be Disciplined’ To Beat Coronavirus

The Britain's Got Talent winner compares COVID-19 restrictions to the war years

Chelsea Pensioner and Britain's Got Talent winner Colin Thackery has told the nation ‘you have to be disciplined’ and ‘do as you are told’ if we are going to win the battle against coronavirus.

The 90-year-old war veteran and singer, who last year won the hearts of the nation by winning the 13th series of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) before going on to become the oldest person to sign a record deal aged 89, appeared on Good Morning Britain where he compared life under the restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic to life during wartime.

Colin Thackery on Good Morning Britain
BGT winner Colin Thackery on Good Morning Britain

Mr Thackery, who served with the British Army’s Royal Artillery, is a veteran of the Korean War and also saw service in Malaya.

He told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid that daily life now, as the country faces restrictions on movement and dwindling supplies in supermarkets as a result of panic-buying and supply-chain issues, had similarities to the restrictions and rationing of the Second World War, saying:

“It is very similar in some ways. I was talking to my grandchildren a little while back, and saying that, during the war, older people of my age will remember, if you saw a queue outside a butcher’s shop for example, you’d join it.

“You wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what they were going to sell but you joined it, and you might get a couple of sausages, or a couple of pieces of meat. That’s the sort of thing that happened.”

Chelsea Pensioner and Korean War veteran, Colin Thackery (born 9 March 1930), who won the thirteenth series of Britain's Got Talent in June 2019.
Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery

He also suggested that there would be enough food to go around for everyone so long as people were prepared to ‘wait for their share’. He said for that reason, today’s public response to an emergency situation was also very different from the war years, saying:

 “These days it’s completely different because we have wonderful communications, we have a marvellous health service, and plenty of food, of course, if people would only just wait for their share.”

Mr Thackery also said he found it ‘highly amusing’ that people were panic-buying toilet roll, saying:

“Why toilet roll for heaven’s sake? What do they expect is going to happen to us?”

Host Susanna Reid pointed out that Colin had been fighting this pandemic on a number of fronts.

His brother-in-law, who is also 90, is suffering with coronavirus, while his niece is an NHS theatre sister who is about to go and work at the new Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCel centre.

She also pointed out that Colin was also an ambassador for the Dame Vera Lynn’s Children’s Charity.

The veteran was a guest on Good Morning Britain as hosts Piers and Susanna discussed the latest issues of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday morning, including how some people had been flouting the new restrictions by gathering in public and visiting other people's homes.