Published: Wednesday, 26th May 2021
Taking the Rolling Stones shopping, leading a delegation to meet the Queen and running an engineering business are just some of Cllr Diana Esler’s achievements.
Now, the grandmother of four, who spent three decades living in India, is hoping for a satisfying year as Sevenoaks District Council’s new Chairman.
After leaving school to study law at the University of London, Croydon-born Diana married at the age of 19 and left her studies and these shores to move to Mumbai (known then as Bombay) with her new husband.
Diana says: “We lived in a small but vibrant expat community. It was a very exciting time. Within a few years, I took over the family engineering business when my eldest was just six weeks old.
“Despite heading up a business, I made sure I devoted time to supporting the community. I was a Brownie leader, then a Cub leader with 130 boys under my charge and was heavily involved in helping homeless people and women experiencing abuse.
“One of my proudest moments was leading a British business delegation to Delhi for a cocktail party with the Queen. I also liaised closely with Margaret Thatcher when she stayed in Mumbai and even spent a day shopping with Mick Jagger and Keith Richard when the Rolling Stones performed in the city.
“But after 34 years, I left India and my marriage and returned to England to settle in Beckenham. It was there I met then married John Esler and where I rekindled my love of local politics.
“My dad's brother was a Councillor in Brent and, as a child, I regularly delivered his campaign leaflets. So it was only natural I should become involved in politics and I was elected to Bromley Council.
Later, Diana moved to Sevenoaks and in 2015 was elected to Sevenoaks District Council representing Westerham and Crockham Hill. Sadly John became unwell around this time and passed away in 2017.
Last year, Diana married Michael Pearsall, himself a widower, whose life is equally engrained in local politics.
“It only seems natural for me to support DAVSS - the Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services - during my time as Chairman”, says Diana.
“And coming out of a most difficult year, I’m keen to highlight our amazing District, especially our historic attractions and fantastic gardens.”
Cllr Esler was elected Chairman at last night's Annual Council meeting (25 May 2021). The meeting took place at the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks, the first time a Council meeting has taken place outside of the Council's offices, to meet the Government’s current COVID restrictions.
The Stag was one of the many businesses supported by Sevenoaks District Council over the pandemic and has recently reopened its doors to the public.
Follow Diana on Twitter at @sdc_chairman.