AN ex-soldier who became a Beefeater after serving Queen and country on the battlefield for more than two decades is to become a Freeman of the City of London.
Stephen McMenamy, of Parr, who was also granted the Freedom of St Helens alongside fellow current and former servicemen and women earlier this year, will be granted the honour in a ceremony at the Guild Hall on November 13.
Among the historical benefits set to be bestowed on him is permission to drive sheep across London Bridge any time he likes!
The ex tank commander, now a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, said: “Because of my army background I was asked if I wanted to apply to become a Freeman of the City of London. Naturally, I was really pleased when I found out that my application had been granted.
“I’m really looking forward to the ceremony - my family are all very proud.”
Stephen, 45, who served with the British Army’s Royal Armoured Corps for the best part of 23 years, previously held the position of Regimental Sergeant Major, as part of the Queen’s Royal Lancers.
He served all over the world, including two tours of Iraq.
In January 2007, he worked with Iraqi authorities on the Iran border to help deter illegal weapon smuggling. He had previously been injured in a rocket explosion during the initial Gulf invasion in 2003.
Now though, the father-of-four is so happy with life as a Beefeater that he hopes to continue until he’s 65.
The Yeoman Warders are descended from the ancient band of warders who, from early in the Tower of London’s history, had the responsibility for guarding the gates and royal prisoners.
Modern Yeoman Warders are still Extraordinary Members of the Queen’s Bodyguard and are all former warrant officers from Her Majesty’s Forces with an honourable service record.
Today, they combine their traditional ceremonial role with that of a tourist guide.
Stephen added: “I’m enjoying every minute of life as a Beefeater. It’s the history and tradition of it that gives me the most satisfaction. It’s nice to know that I’m still serving HM The Queen as one of her bodyguards too.
“I sometimes miss the camaraderie of army life, but, to be honest, the banter is not too dissimilar among some of the Beefeaters!”