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“I wish to be a guard at Buckingham Palace”
10 years old, Wolverhampton
Sickle cell disease
Liam spent many years of his childhood living with sickle cell disease, which affects the red blood cells. He was often very tired, in pain at times and at an increased risk of catching infections.
In 2016, Liam had a successful stem cell transplant. His recovery was slow but he gradually started to feel stronger.
"Two years ago I was in hospital undergoing my transplant and two years later here I am now strong and fit in Buckingham Palace being a guard."
Liam’s wish took place on one of the hottest days of the year! He arrived – dressed in his special uniform – alongside his younger brother, Milan, and his mum.
They were met by Lt. Tom Melville from the Coldstream Guards who are based at Wellington Barracks, just moments away from Buckingham Palace.
Liam and Milan were treated like VIPs and were even allowed to try on the real bearskin hats worn by the guards.
The changing of the guard starts inside the grounds of the barracks and after watching this at close-hand, Liam marched alongside Lt. Melville to the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The streets were lined with tourists and visitors.
"Walking through the crowd with an officer made me feel very special."
Liam and his family were granted special access inside the gates of the Palace. They had the best view in the house and were able to watch the ceremony close-up and with a personal commentary by Lt. Melville.
Afterwards, the family took the same route that the guards had marched, along the red-paved Mall outside the Palace.
Liam said: “It’s like I’m retracing the Guard’s steps.” He felt like a VIP with all the visitors taking photos of him as he walked by.
Back at the barracks, Liam met the Garrison Commander, Lt. Col. Jimmy Duggan, who asked Liam to sign their visitor’s book for very important people, including royalty from all over the world.
Then he and his family enjoyed lunch at the officer’s mess and heard all about life as a soldier.
Liam recalls: “My favourite part of the day was having lunch with the Garrison Commander and talking to him about how great the day had been so far.”
After lunch, Liam was presented with some special gifts from the Garrison Commander including a custom-made Guard’s waistcoat, with badges from the foot guard’s regiments and a Coldstream Guards’ flag.
How Liam's wish helped
Liam’s wish built up his confidence and gave him an insight into life in the Armed Forces – something he’s interested in exploring in the future.
Lt. Col. Duggan said: “To look at Liam, I see a fine, healthy, young man who has clearly gone through a difficult time. He’s very confident, has a fabulous future ahead of him and I hope, is a budding Guardsman of the future. He’s been a pleasure to host all day.”
At the end of his wish Liam said, “One day I hope the Queen will appreciate me being a guard for her.”
We’d like to say a special thank you to everyone at The Coldstream Guards and The British Army who helped to make Liam’s wish a wonderful reality.