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And England manager Gareth Southgate couldn’t help noticing how much the Chelsea Pensioners had in common with the young players in his squad.
During a visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea ahead of Remembrance Week, he said: “When they were serving, they would’ve been at an age similar to what our players are now. And many would also have very similar backgrounds.”
But Southgate, 51, also noticed many of the pensioners had three medals, not three lions, on their famous scarlet uniforms.
He added: “To be able to sit and chat, laugh and have my leg pulled by the ex-soldiers, it was quite humbling really because you know what they’ve given of their lives for our country.”
After speaking to pensioner Paul Whittick and comrades, he added: “I have to say it was an amazing experience.
“I’ve never been before, so to see how well looked after everybody who lives there is was something to behold.”
The hospital has looked after elderly veterans for more than 300 years. The pensioners conduct educational visits and fundraising for military charities.
- To show your support visit chelsea-pensioners.co.uk
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