The PC who was anything but

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The fact that some of his family called him ‘Marmite’ shows just how former policeman John Hazle presented himself to the world.

On his Facebook page, the Galashiels community councillor listed among his favourite quotes ‘what you see is what you get’ and ‘no airs and graces’.

That seems to sum up a man who in one breath was extremely passionate about local issues and used colourful language to describe those who felt differently and in the next breath was telling one of his legendary silly jokes.

Despite spending most of his working life with the prefix of PC, he absolutely hated political correctness and conducted his life in determined avoidance of it.

A huge fan of Rangers Football Club – a brick on the wall of the Ibrox stand bears his name – he greatly enjoyed some old-school banter with followers of a certain club in Glasgow’s east end.

He was born on March 13, 1955, in Lady Home Hospital in Douglas and spent his early years at the family home in Glespin with parents James and Mima and big brother Jim.

He went to Stablestone Primary School in Douglas and Douglas Junior Secondary School.

When he left school at 15, he took on an apprenticeship as a mechanic with Wilson’s Coaches, before moving on to DJ Mckenzie Haulage, where he serviced and repaired heavy goods vehicles. He moved to Ravencraig steel works, but soon decided he’s had enough of getting his hands dirty and joined the police, following in brother Jim’s bootsteps.

He joined the Lothian and Borders force and was posted to Galashiels after completing his training at Tulliallan.

He loved the town and the job, working in the traffic section and completing his advanced and tactical driving courses. At last, he had found a career his no-nonsense personality was perfectly suited to, and he spent nigh on 30 years in it.

Once, he booked a rally driver for speeding on a public road between stages.

Legend has it he also stopped a speeding Range Rover. He asked the driver his name, to which he replied: “I’m the Duke of Buccleuch.”

John said: “I didn’t ask for your title. What’s the name on your birth certificate?” before booking him for speeding.

His love of football extended to his new life in Galashiels, and he took his coaching badges while working with Tweedbank Thistle FC.

He coached many players over the years and enjoyed working with youngsters, taking various teams abroad to tournaments in France and Belgium, as well as all over the UK.

Shortly after his retirement, he and his second wife Moira moved to Paphos in Cyprus, such was his love of Mediterranean air. They were there for eight months before John had a health scare and the pair moved back to Galashiels.

He began working for Scott and Co, the sheriff officer’s in the town.

The health scare raised its ugly head again around nine years ago, and he underwent a quadruple bypass.

He carried on regardless, and enjoyed his time on the community council, where he campaigned on issues that he cared deeply about, such as the state of the A7, rowdy youths, and, latterly, the attempt to save historic artefacts from the abandoned St Aidan’s Church in the town’s Gala Park Road.

On Monday, July 2, he was heading up to Edinburgh on business. However, it appears he soon felt unwell, parked his car near Torwoodlee Golf Course, and suffered a massive heart attack.

He was found by a passer-by, who called an ambulance, but they were unable to save him.

His death at the age of 63 came as a huge shock to his family and friends, who say their goodbyes to John at his funeral today at the Borders Crematorium at noon, to the tune of Simply the Best, the Tina Turner hit adopted by his beloved football club.

John is survived by his two sons, Alan and Craig – from his first marriage to Elizabeth – his wife Moira and her children Aaron, Lee and Stacy, plus grandchildren Keira and Lucy.

● Stacy has launched a Just Giving page in memory of John in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stacy-hazle1