A Chelsea pensioner from Whitehaven has met his 20th and 21st great-grandsons for the first time.

Edward Fell, 82, travelled up from London to see his great-grandsons, Mason and Novah who were born last month within a week of each other.

“I’m so proud,” said Edward. “I never thought I’d be sat here with 21 great-grandchildren and I’m sure there will be more on the way.

News and Star: Mason and Novah with two Chelsea pensioner bearsMason and Novah with two Chelsea pensioner bears (Image: Isaac Cooper)“Living in London, its only now and then that I get to see the whole clan together so it’s a really special day.”

Edward initially joined the forces as part of his national service and ended up serving in for 22 years including in Mayala, three tours of Northern Ireland and 16 years in Germany.

“When I was doing national service, the lad in the next bed to me was a three-year regular,” said Edward.

“I was getting paid 28 shillings a week and he was getting paid £3 15 shillings for the same job, so it was a no brainer.

After his long military career, Edward became a police officer in Derbyshire before retiring with his beloved wife of 58 years, Eva.

Eva sadly passed away and it was then that Edward decided to become a Chelsea pensioner.

To be a Chelsea pensioner and wear the famous red jacket, members got to have been in the British Army, be of pensionable age and have no financial dependence.

Members starts off living independently in sheltered accommodation then as they get older and frailer, it becomes a care home.

“The Chelsea pensioners brought me back to life,” said Edward.

“I was married for 58 years and after I lost my wife I and just felt cut in two but I got the opportunity to join the pensioners and it felt like going back home, because, although I didn't know anybody, I knew everybody because they've all lived the same life.

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“I'm a ward representative and I look after the ward and report any repairs that need doing, we also collect the mail for the ward and distribute it.

“I'm also the, a qualified tour guide for the hospital, so I do tours for visitors and other military personnel that come in, so I’m as busy as ever and still fully employed.

“We’re so well looked after that they reckon you can put ten years on your life being a Chelsea pensioner.”