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Students at Lichfield school get a special visit from Chelsea Pensioners

A group of Chelsea Pensioners have visited a Lichfield school after being invited along by pupils.

The scarlet-coated veterans made the 135-mile trip from their home at The Royal Hospital Chelsea to meet with year 6 and year 7 students at Maple Hayes Dyslexia School, before heading to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.

The visit was organised after the children read Michael Morpurgo’s Billy the Kid during their English lessons, following which they penned letters to the pensioners.

A Chelsea Pensioner talking to a student at Maple Hayes

A Chelsea Pensioner talking to a student at Maple Hayes

A school spokesperson said: “Billy the Kid is a story told through the eyes of an 80-year-old Chelsea Pensioner looking back on his life.

“As part of our lessons we looked at the non-fiction side of the story and the pupils learnt all about The Royal Hospital Chelsea and who the Chelsea Pensioners are.

“The children were very excited to know that the Chelsea Pensioners had actually read their letters and wanted to visit. Knowing that their words had an impact on such important people is a huge boost for the pupils and hopefully it will encourage them to read and write more.”

Famous for their iconic uniforms, the Chelsea Pensioners date their history back to more than 325 years ago and the reign of King Charles II.

The visitors enjoyed tea and biscuits with the pupils before taking a tour of the school and the work carried out to support dyslexic youngsters.

Dennis Morgan, 71, who served for 23 years in the Royal Corps of Signals, said: “We get invited to visit a lot of schools and it’s always good to see the younger generation and also to see the progress being made in our education system

“The teaching standard at Maple Hayes appears to be very high – it’s an impressive place.”

Dr Daryl Brown, headteacher at Maple Hayes, said: “It’s not every day you have the honour of welcoming the Chelsea Pensioners for lunch so we were delighted when they accepted our pupils’ invitation to visit the school.

“The children thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Chelsea Pensioners and we were thrilled to accompany them to the National Memorial Arboretum. We’d like to thank the Royal Hospital Chelsea once again for taking the time to organise the visit.”

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