Gill Tanner

Joined 1987

Willingdon Cadet Division, East Sussex

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Colour photograph of three boys erecting a tent in a field.
Cadet camp Hunstanton, Norfolk, 1982 Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John (NC.HAR.2022.0068)
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There were camps that were organised, which depending on where you were, would specifically to do – just generally a camp or a camp to do with – there was a canoeing camp as well that I went on. And that was everybody across the county that could go so that was that. But in fact one canoe camp actually had in Bexhill, there was a site in Bexhill that St John has. And actually, I met one of my friends there. Well, I met them there, no, I met them and then they became a friend, if that makes sense, and now I met my friend there.

So basically the opportunity was about outdoor activities, which was great. And one of the things that I got involved in was literally canoeing or, strictly speaking, kayaking, so that’s single person of activity. And yeah, it was through the St John availability. We had a trainer that could take us out, which was really great. And we’d get to paddle on different rivers across the county, yeah, absolutely. So the River Cuckmere, at Cuckmere Haven, Sunday after – Sunday morning, absolutely, yeah. Except when there was Weil’s disease. Weil’s disease is when you’ve got rats that pee in the river and if you go in the river and swallow the water you get really sick so we weren’t allowed to go in the – well, or even on the river in case you fell in when that was around. So yeah, absolutely. But other than that, yeah, good fun.

Excerpt courtesy of Gill Tanner