"Life is a smorgasbord, everybody grab what you can."
They were the sage words spoken to Tamworth's John Muller as a young man, and the musician, sportsman and philanthropist has done just that.
John Muller OAM has taken a 10-22 at No 1 Oval for North Tamworth, taken 91 wickets on a world tour with the famed Emus, played on the hallowed turf of the SCG, taken on the West Indies, landed a hole in one, and scored the only goal against a touring New Zealand hockey side, to name a few.
While the 83 year old has taken a lot from life, he has given a lot more back, using his natural musical talent, and flair, to raise funds for a variety of local organisations, such as Billabong Clubhouse.
Over the years the Johnny Muller Big Band has raised over $260,000 for the local rehabilitation service, and has chipped in to just about every other organisation in the region.
On Friday night Mr Muller was given a standing ovation by a full-house at the Tamworth Quality Business Awards, where he was named the recipient of the prestigious Noel Park Award.
"It truly was one of the highlights of my life," he said.
"And I got to address the crowd and tell a few jokes - I didn't know about the standing ovation until someone told me afterwards - it was a very special night."
Life is a smorgasbord, grab what you can.John Muller
Mr Muller first played piano in Nundle as a young boy, before the family moved to Tamworth when he was 12, and the musical, and sporting, journey continued.
Learning piano under the tutelage of Miss Sams, Mr Muller soon found himself in the workforce, and stumbled across an old saxophone at the Police and Citizen Boys Club, which Bob Morrison taught him to play.
"I could already read music, and after Bob taught me a few things I was asked to join the club's Jazz Band - I was shaking like a leaf but had a great time," he said.
"The tenor saxophone suited me down to the ground, and I always had that drive to play music."
In 1977 Mr Muller's dreams came true when he formed the 18 piece Johnny Muller Big Band, and their unique sound rang out all over the North West for the next 40 years.
In 2006 Mr Muller was awarded an OAM for his service to the community, and in 2007 was once again honoured with the NSW Service to the Community Award.
Lately Mr Muller has had to give the music, and golf, away as he battles cancer for a second time, although he will tell anyone who listens that he has taken a few wickets and has some good runs on the board.
"I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man with no feet," he said.
"The harder you work the luckier you get, and I have been very lucky."