Maria Marsden (née Podlasiuk)

Joined 1981

Irlam and Cadishead Nursing Cadet Division, Greater Manchester

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Colour photograph of two people. On the left is the Duke of Edinburgh who is waving. To the right is a woman in St John uniform. She is not facing the camera.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Superintendent-in-Chief Lady Westbury at the Great Party, Hyde Park, 1987 Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John (PHA11861)
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At the Hyde Park in 1987 when Badgers were formed we were selected as well. Myself, Kerry and one or two other Cadets from out of the county were selected to do a special duty, but we didn’t really know what that was. So we travelled on the coach in our uniforms, didn’t still really know what it was. We slept the night before in an old church on the floor, a little bit like this. The carpet was really rough, and one side the boys and one side the girls, so you know, we were being silly as usual. I’d slipped on there, so I’d got a friction burn all the way up my leg, it was horrible. It was horrible, but I didn’t dare tell the officers. One of the boys had fallen over and broken his arm, that wasn’t a good thing either. So we were all still like, we still don’t know what this special duty is. And the next morning we got up, we had to put our uniforms on, and we must’ve looked a little bit of a state. There was no real shower facilities. We put what we, you know, we must have looked a little bit bedraggled. And then we were told we were going to escort His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh around Hyde Park for the opening of Badgers and things. So that was like, wow, do you really want to send us bedraggled looking Cadets around? But we did, and that was our duty that day while everybody was celebrating the birth of the Badgers and Hyde Park Centenary. It was really a good day.

Excerpt courtesy of Maria Marsden