'Simmo' leaves trail of happy customers

A simple phrase 'ring bing' was the catch cry for generations of families in Stawell and further afield that for decades relied on the kind heart and generosity of Ian Simpson.

The former milkman, turned interstate truck driver, turned local businessman has retired after more than 40 years in the trailer hire business.

In that time he witnessed many changes with services he used to so readily provide, including mechanical repairs and tyre changes becoming almost obsolete.

Originally operating from the BP service station Mr Simpson didn't just provide trailers, car parts, scrap, tyre repairs and car sales, but a friendly ear and shoulder to lean on.

"I've seen a lot of changes, especially to motor vehicles that made today, you can't do anything with," he said.

Mr Simpson hasn't had a holiday in his entire working life. His commitment to deliver a service to the community seven days a week is evident by the fact he's had surgery for seven different pacemakers.

The other six 'popped out' due to his determination to return to work too soon or because of over exertion.

At its peak Ian Simpson's trailer hire business had 25 trailers that would be loaned to people, some on more than one occasion for free, because he sympathised with their stories of struggle.

His wasn't just a business, but a meeting place for what could have aptly been Stawell's 'original' men's shed.

Mr Simpson himself faced challenges, caring for his late wife Margaret when she became ill while still maintaining the business and service.

"It's a pity it came to a finish, but I'll be 78 at Christmas and I've just had enough. Any work I do will become my hobby," he said.

Mr Simpson's interest in mechanics won't be going anywhere with scraps and old cars bound to still feature in the yard.

"I get satisfaction from knowing I have done something useful."

Mr Simpson's children, grandchildren and now even great grandchildren have found joy from growing up on his property.

Melissa Ampt fondly remembers being taught along with her brother Dave to drive at a place where everybody was welcome and made to feel like family.

"We would be driving cars up and down the driveway, it is where we learnt to drive and we had so much fun doing it," she said.

Residents showed their appreciation for his dedication and hard work by joining with him and family for a sausage sizzle and drink to celebrate the start of a new chapter that could involve travelling around Australia.

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