When I originally phoned to request an interview, John Hasler had to come in from the garden where he had been planting broad beans, to answer the phone. Gardening is just one of his many activities and interests – and his lovely garden is proof of his, and his wife’s, skills.
He is perhaps best known as the leading light of the Peppard Revels. He was Deputy Chairman when the Revels were first established in 1999 celebrating the Millennium and he continued with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebration and Trafalgar Day and then took over as Chairman for the Revels’ Ian Fleming centenary and culminating in Peppard’s biggest event yet – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. One of his philosophies is to go out on top so after this successful event he handed over the reigns.
Just in case the Revels aren’t enough to keep the residents of Peppard entertained, John Hasler and others formed the Film Club following the success of showing James Bond films prior to the 2008 Revels. Now there are around eighty people who come along to enjoy the screening with eight cooks to provide the supper.
To keep the residents of Peppard fit and healthy, he is also Chairman of the Sonning Common Green Gym which he says is very good exercise. He also walks with a walking club every Tuesday morning.
John moved into Wyfold Lane in 1966 with his wife Lindsay. It was the ideal location as he was a GP in Sonning Common, first as an assistant and then as a full partner, and Lindsay, a radiographer, worked at Peppard Hospital. He continued at the Sonning Common Health Centre for a total of 32 years but, busy as this was, it wasn’t his only role. In the first few years he was also a part time anaesthetist at Reading for two operating lists a week. As well as a his life as a busy GP with, in those days, on-call commitments at night and weekends as part and parcel of a GP’s role, he also played a key role in GP post-graduate training becoming the Director of Postgraduate General Practice Education for the Oxford region and the Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Under his guidance, the Sonning Common Health Centre became a national standard bearer for the provision of patient-centred medical care.
He and Lindsay have four sons – all now happily married, and eight grandchildren. Luckily they all live within a reasonable distance so close family contact can be maintained. None of the sons chose a medical career and John attributes this partly to the impact his working hours had on their growing up. However, he is delighted that his oldest grandson is following in his footsteps and studying medicine.
In talking to John Hasler, what struck me most was that he is essentially a very modest man who is only too ready to give others, his colleagues or friends, the credit for so many of his own achievements.