Kiwi Beefeater lives in a castle

GENERATION GUARDS: Campbells Bay school girl Gabriella Nolan and granddad Patrick Nolan in his yeoman warder's uniform outside his apartment, which is built into the outer wall of the Tower and dates back to 1500.
GENERATION GUARDS: Campbells Bay school girl Gabriella Nolan and granddad Patrick Nolan in his yeoman warder's uniform outside his apartment, which is built into the outer wall of the Tower and dates back to 1500.

Every six-year-old girl dreams of living in a castle but for one North Shore girl its more then just a dream - her grandad really does.

Milford girl Gabriella Nolan and her dad Ross went to visit her grandfather Patrick Nolan at the Tower of London recently where he is the only non-British person to wear the iconic Beefeater uniform.

Beefeaters, officially the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London.

In principle they are responsible for looking after any prisoners at the tower and safeguarding the British crown jewels.

Today a lot of their job involves acting as tour guides.

Ross Nolan said his daughter understood what was going on when they went to visit his dad at the tower.

"She knows her grandad lives in a castle," he said. "But the reality of it was enormous for her. She's a very bright wee girl."

Patrick Nolan retired from the New Zealand Army after 29 years as a warrant officer. He served in Vietnam and Sinai.

He visited the tower on a trip to London from Sinai and spoke to the chief warder about becoming a Beefeater.

"He found he fitted all the requirements, so applied for a position and waited for someone to retire so he could start."

To become a yeoman warder applicants must have served in Her Majesty's armed forces for a minimum of 22 years and achieved the rank of a senior non-commissioned officer.

They must hold long service and good conduct medals. They must also have a letter of recommendation from a British general.

"Dad was lucky to be serving under a general in Sinai who wrote a great reference for him," says Ross Nolan.

"He's the only warder ever from outside of the UK."

As well as being a yeoman warder, Patrick is the New Zealand trustee on the executive council of the Commonwealth Ex-Services League which is chaired by the Duke of Edinburgh and European representative of the RNZRSA.

He was parade marshall for the Anzac Day service at Whitehall for many years but that role is now filled by a serving soldier.

"Before we went, Gabriella asked me if grandpop wore a sword to work - the answer is yes, but not every day."

North Shore Times