Belfast Telegraph

Sarah Travers signs off from the BBC and a 120-mile daily commute

By Maureen Coleman

She has successfully balanced family life with a broadcasting career for 15 years now, but BBC Newsline presenter Sarah Travers is leaving her high-profile job at the end of this month.

The mother-of-two, who is from Portstewart, says she wants to spend more time with her family and explore new opportunities.

In a statement issued by the BBC last night, the Newsline and Family Focus presenter said that although she was leaving for personal reasons, her departure didn't mark the end of her broadcasting career.

Sarah began her career as a freelancer at Radio Foyle around 17 years ago and gave birth to her first son Jack two years later.

She then went on to have a daughter, Evie Rose, who is now nine. Along with her husband Stephen, a journalist, lecturer and author, the family live in Portstewart and Sarah makes a daily 120-mile commute to Belfast.

The journalist is also a big support to her father Ian who has been battling Alzheimer’s for several years.

Explaining her decision to move on, Sarah said: “After more than 17 years with the BBC I felt the time was right to try something different and also to spend more time with my family.

“It’s been a wonderful period of my life during which I’ve had the honour of working with some of the most talented people. I’ve met many wonderful colleagues — many of whom I now consider my closest friends.

“I’ve also had the opportunity to build up a great rapport with viewers and I’d like to thank them for their support. I’ve worked on many memorable events during my career so far — from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement to the Olympic Torch Relay last year, an event that really showed Northern Ireland at its best.”

“I’m sad to say goodbye to the BBC for now, but I’m really looking forward to an exciting future ahead,” she said.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in 2009, Sarah admitted she had suffered from ‘working mum guilt', balancing family life with a demanding career.

She said at the time: “I had my son Jack when I was just starting out at the BBC and it was very difficult. When I look back I don't know how I coped. But you do what you have to do at the time and I'm sure many working mums feel the same way.”

Sarah also admitted in the interview that living so far away from Belfast had its disadvantages, but that she wanted her children to enjoy the same childhood she'd had growing up in Portstewart.

And the former Dominican College pupil, who has been with Stephen for 17 years, also revealed they had decided to get married in 2009 because her father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

“I always wanted my dad to give me away, so that brought things forward and we decided it was the right time to get everybody together,” she said.

Angelina Fusco, editor of television news for BBC NI, thanked Sarah “for her professionalism and invaluable contribution”.

“Sarah brought her own distinctive, original style of journalism to news — whether presenting live in studio, holding contributors to account or broadcasting from locations around Northern Ireland.

“I’m sure viewers will miss Sarah just as much as her colleagues — we’ll certainly miss her warmth and ability to find time for everyone even during the busiest of days. We wish Sarah all the best for the future,” she added.

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