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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007, 05:12 GMT
Beefeater's Christmas wish list
By Jane Mower
BBC News, London

New recruits Robert Loughlin and Moira Cameron
Beefeaters must guard eight posts every day of the year

Hand warmers, battery-heated socks and moisturiser are top of Moira Cameron's Christmas list as she battles against the cold as one of the Tower of London's Beefeaters.

"My major worry is the cold but I'm told the first year is the worst and I will get used to it," she said.

But that doesn't stop her wishing for a sprinkling of the white stuff to add to the magic of spending her first Christmas at the Tower.

"If it were to snow on Christmas Day then it would just be perfect.

"Here we have the sort of community where children play out in the street in any case but at Christmas I imagine them to be out there playing with their new bikes and skateboards," she said.

Midnight mass

Miss Cameron, 43, made history when she became the first female Beefeater to work at the Tower in September this year.

And now she is looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere of Christmas while living within the walls of the 900-year-old royal palace.

High on the list of traditions is midnight mass at the Norman Chapel of St John inside the White Tower.

At the end of the day it will be just like any other working day
Moira Cameron

"It is candlelit so it is going to be so beautiful. You have to make sure your name is on the list in order to get a seat as we've been told it's always packed."

Miss Cameron will be on duty on 25 December before flying home to be with her family in Argyle on Boxing Day.

"It will be strange this year as even when I was in the Army I only every spent two Christmases away from home but at the end of the day it will just be like any other working day."

But she has vowed that once off duty she will change into her pyjamas and slippers to enjoy a Christmas feast with colleagues.

Pyjamas and slippers

"Some friends who live in the Tower have invited me and some other singletons over for dinner and I have told them that I will be going round in my pyjamas and slippers," she said.

The Beefeaters are responsible for covering eight posts at the Tower every day of the year.

Also spending his first Christmas at the Tower is fellow Beefeater Robert Loughlin, 53, who joined the team of Yeoman Warders in April.

Mr Loughlin and his wife, who live in the Tower, have family coming to visit as he is on duty on Boxing Day.
To see the place empty throughout the whole day and the children having the run of the place... will be special
Robert Loughlin

Looking forward to what will be a special time he said: "We will no doubt meet for a few drinks in the club then go back for our Christmas dinner.

"In the military I was used to taking quite a lot of leave at Christmas but this year it is very different as I have just two days off.

"To see the place empty throughout the whole day and the children having the run of the place, except for the jewel tower of course, will be special."

And as an early present he discovered that his 27-year-old daughter will be coming home from her posting in Baghdad in time for Christmas.

He said: "I am delighted that she's back in time to share Christmas with us but there are lots of others who are not so fortunate and we wish them all the best and our thoughts are with them".

As for the New Year, Mr Loughlin plans to learn French and how to play the bagpipes.

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