IF you don’t know Bill Sauer from the classroom you are bound to know him for his contribution to sport in Sunraysia.

But yesterday Mr Sauer, 66, bid farewell to Mildura as he and his wife, Helen, embarked on another chapter of their life – one that will no doubt be filled with plenty of family memories and good times exploring their new home state of Tasmania.

The contribution Mr Sauer has made to the community here is immeasurable.

He was a teacher for 43 years – guiding students at Mildura Technical School from 1981 to 1987, Werrimull Consolidated School (now P-12) from 1991 to 1994 and Irymple Secondary College from 1995 until recently retiring.

He has been presenter on both radio and television and a sports writer.

Furthermore, he’s been the man behind the microphone at many events and functions held throughout the district over the years.

In his earlier years, Mr Sauer played cricket for Mildura West for 25 or 26 seasons, and football, albeit more briefly for Mildura mainly, although he did have bit of a kick with Cardross.

He’s a life member of Mildura West Cricket Club, the Sunraysia Cricket Association, the Sunraysia Football and Netball League and is a member of the Northern Mallee Sports Hall of Fame.

But although all those accomplishments no doubt hold a special spot in his heart, Mr Sauer doesn’t rate any of these as his biggest fulfillment.

“In all sincerity, I think the most important thing I have done in my life is try to be a good parent, because I think that is the best thing any parent can hope; is to bring up kids who fulfill their potential, are good people and are happy,” he puts simply.

“That’s been my finest achievement all together, but in terms of my career, I think my teaching has been an absolute gift, I have enjoyed it and I lucked into in a sense and I found it to be a delightful and most rewarding occupation.

“As far as the media goes, it’s all been a blast and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t.

“Whether it’s newspaper, radio or television, I have had a wonderful time in the media, and I’ve worked with some absolutely amazing people.”

Mr Sauer said his most memorable moment came in 2006 when Essendon and Richmond played football at Red Cliffs.

The game was organised in memory of six teenagers who died in an accident in Cardross the month prior.

“Certainly the most moving was the first Cardross tragedy football game out at Quandong Park,” Mr Sauer said.

“I had the MC’ing role there and I was conscious that I wanted to do that well, to honour the kids that were tragically killed in that, but what was really lovely, is after the players had lined up and I did my speech to introduce the video montage, they went to take their positions and Mark McVeigh, the Essendon footballer who was playing that day, made a point of coming over and shaking my hand and saying: ‘That was just beautiful’.

“That was lovely because it was important to me to do that well, and it was really nice of him to make that effort.”

Mr Sauer has given so much to the community, but he said the community has also given plenty back to him.

“I have had so much love from so many different people, including people I have never met before here,” he said.

“They’ve said ‘You’re Bill, aren’t you? You’ve done a fabulous job!’

“And it’s just been so humbling, so warm to feel that and you feel as though you have made a contribution that is useful.”

He also mentioned the OAM he received in 2013 and said this made him realise people have noticed his contribution and that he has made a difference in people’s lives sometime.

Mr Sauer said he has also had an absolute ball entertaining guests at events and functions around the district with his band – The Beagles. The band performed charity gigs and Mr Sauer has been part of the group for 10 years.

It’s the likes of his band mates Graeme Cupper, Noel Costa, Warren Lloyd, Luke McCarthy and Louis Bulzomi that he will dearly miss, as he added they have brought much enjoyment to his life and have been a highlight of his later years.

The future for Mr Sauer will involve family and taking in their new location, Ferntree in Tasmania.

Mr Sauer said he is excited to be able to spend time with his son, James, James’ wife Sarah and their child, Mr Sauer’s only grandchild, Will who reside in Tasmania.

“In terms of activity with sport, we will see how that unfolds,” Mr Sauer added.

“I wouldn’t mind doing some part time work calling some football, if available, or maybe just getting involved as a club as a volunteer and doing some MCing if they need someone, but I don’t have any huge plans to pursue.

“I am aware you can be a big fish in one bowl, and absolutely nothing in another.

“I’ll try and do something useful in radio – maybe some reading for the print handicap.

“I’ll just try and find things I enjoy and we will certainly do a fair bit of traveling around Tasmania.”

But before that, Mr Sauer had to bid farewell to a place he has not only come to love, but a place full of people that have come to love him.

Was it going to be an emotional farewell to a place he has spent 58 of his 66 years living in?

Mr Sauer said it would probably take a bit to hit home.

“I’m always looking forward more than back,” Mr Sauer said.

“So I think what will be on mind is: Can I drive this Falcon loaded to the maximum, sufficiently enough to get it to the ferry on time?”

– ZOEY ANDREWS