JOHN Fuller is the conductor of Basingstoke Area Youth Orchestra, which is part of the Hampshire Music Service, and he has conducted the orchestra since 1994.

John is also the director of nine Basingstoke music ensembles, which give music-making opportunities to a current membership of about 350 young musicians, including many concerts in The Anvil, and several tours to widespread parts of Europe.

John was born and brought up on a family farm in Hertfordshire. He graduated from London University, and moved to Basingstoke with his wife and two young children in 1979.

1. Who was your childhood hero and why? Eric McGavin – my first clarinet teacher, who inspired so many and formed the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. I was fortunate to be a founder member and my daughter was the first ‘second generation’ member.

2. What is your most precious possession, and why is it important to you? My boat – on it I am in a completely different world to where I normally work.

3. What was the first record/CD you bought? I Feel Fine, by The Beatles.

4. What is the radio/television show you hate to miss? The Archers.

5. What is your favourite film? Master and Commander.

6. What is your pet hate? Smoking – I have never smoked, but have always hated even the lingering smell of cigarette smoke. As a cancer survivor, I really do object to people still putting themselves at such risk with this habit.

7. What are you reading at the moment? The Plantagenets by Dan Jones – about our history, showing how intertwined it is with France and the kings and queens of both countries from 1100 to 1400AD.

8. If you were choosing a last meal, what would it be? Fillet steak and chips, cooked at your table on a hot stone with garlic butter in a wonderful restaurant in Madeira!

9. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be? Nelson – a brilliant leader and tactician.

10. If you had a time machine, where would it take you? To meet my great-grandfather to see how he changed from being a carpenter to setting up a pheasant-rearing business so successfully in just a few years.

11. If you were stranded on a desert island, what luxury would you choose to have with you? An MP3 player loaded with my favourite classical music.

12. What sports team do you support? West Ham United.

13. What was your first job? Hand-hoeing weeds in turnips, swedes and potatoes on my family farm.

14. If you could take over someone’s job for the day, whose job would you choose? Sir Simon Rattle, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

15. What worries you the most? The decline in music provision in many schools.

16. What is your proudest moment? Conducting the Verdi Requiem in The Anvil with my wife, son and daughter taking part.

17. What would you like your epitaph to be? He was always cheerful.

18. What’s your guilty pleasure? McVitie’s chocolate digestive biscuits.

19. What one thing could change society for the better? Good manners.

20. What three words best describe you? Reliable, practical, optimistic.