Former military policeman from Buxton to represent Chelsea Pensioners at Festival of Remembrance

John Wiseman with nurses from Blythe House Hospice in Chapel-en-le-Frith.
John Wiseman with nurses from Blythe House Hospice in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

A former military man from Buxton is among a contingent of Chelsea Pensioners selected to take part in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall this weekend.

John Wiseman has only been wearing the iconic scarlet uniform for four months, but says he is honoured to have been chosen.

The 74-year-old said: “There are more than 300 Chelsea Pensioners and only 16 will be performing in the Festival of Remembrance, so it really is a privilege and very possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

John, an ex-Royal Military Policeman and Head of Security at BAE Systems, served between the early 1960s and the 1970s and his job took him all over the world.

Following the death of his wife earlier this year, John applied to become a Chelsea Pensioner and made the move down south in the summer.

He said: “I may live in Chelsea now but my heart will always be in Buxton, and it is very humbling and a huge honour to represent the town at such a prestigious event.”

The live event will be televised from the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, and rehearsals are already well underway.

“We all have military backgrounds so it has been easy to pick up the drills and practices,” he said.

“There is something very special about being a Chelsea Pensioner and I think when we put on the scarlet we are viewed as national treasures, which is lovely.

“We are the only group of people The Queen will stand up for during the service, and I am very proud to be taking part.”

John is also an ambassador for Blythe House Hospice, following the care and support they provided to his late wife.

He added: “They are a marvellous institution and if I can do anything in my new role to help promote them I will.”

Two other former servicemen from the High Peak have also been invited to attend the Festival of Remembrance in London.

Second World War veteran Derek Eley, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, who will turn 100 next week, will be making the journey with Alan Tideswell.

Both are members of the Chapel-en-le-Frith branch of the Royal British Legion.