Veterans

Chelsea Pensioners' Scarlet Coats To Be Upgraded

Some pensioners have complained that in the hot summer weather their iconic jackets become very uncomfortable.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is upgrading its 18th century-style scarlet coats in order to help its pensioners cope with the summer heat.

A number of pensioners have complained that the current design is too heavy for comfort when temperatures soar and have asked for a lighter design.

Monika Parrot became a Chelsea Pensioner two years ago and says she would welcome a change in design: "A prime example, July 8th,” she told Forces News, "I went to the National Memorial Arboretum, eight female pensioners went because they were rededicating an ATS statue.

"Everybody else there… was in blouses or t-shirts and shorts and we were sat there in this, sweltering."

“More people were worried about us than they were about the presentation. Because they could see we were getting hotter and hotter and we’re not allowed to remove it - that’s the problem - not in public.

"All these people knew that, so they were covering us with umbrellas, giving us water and stuff. It’s that kind of thing, it’s very, very difficult to enjoy what you’re doing. You’re proud to be doing it, but you’re too hot to be doing it!"

Her fellow pensioner, Steve Lovelock, said:

Chelsea Pensioners Uniform 231018 CREDIT BFBS

“I’d love to see lightweight scarlets – certainly throughout the summer months,” he said.

“You’re there on centre court,” he recalled, “it’s about a 120 degrees in the shade.

"The sweat is just literally pouring out of you. But if I actually undid that top button, some ex-general would be watching the tennis [and say] ‘that Chelsea Pensioner is improperly dressed’"

Allan McLaren, the hospital's corporate and business development manager, says the redesign will bear the pensioners’ complaints in mind:

“I think the main point was just the sheer weight of it, it’s a heavy woollen coat and, as I say, in the hot weather it’s just uncomfortable."

The redesign will cost £300,000 in total – half of which the hospital has already raised.