Newsreader Fred Dinenage has announced he will retire from ITV Meridian after 38 years hosting the six o'clock news.
The 79-year-old TV presenter - also known for educational children's show How! and true crime documentaries - has announced he will step down as regional news anchor at Christmas.
Dinenage told This Morning: "I won’t go completely. It’s just I’ve had the most amazing run - 58 years non-stop with ITV and I just felt it was time to pull back, to change direction a little bit.”
The veteran broadcaster revealed he will continue to present crime documentaries and CITV's How!, but that stepping away from the newsroom will allow him to spend more time with his wife and dogs.
He admitted he will miss the viewers, who he said, "Have just been amazing to me."
Dinenage went on: "They’ve shared with me so much incredible love and loyalty for so many years. We stop, we chat in the street wherever I am, they tell me their problems as if we’re old friends and indeed we are. So, I’m going to miss them terribly."
And asked to recall a memorable moment from his career he recalled interviewing The Beatles - and being asked for his autograph by drummer Ringo Starr.
He said: “I suppose one of the earliest memories was interviewing The Beatles on Salisbury Plain when they were shooting the film Help.
“Ringo Starr asking me for my autograph would you believe, for his mum? I should have asked him for his."
Dinenage said in a statement: "After almost 38 years co-presenting the ITV six o'clock show in the south and south east I've finally decided to hang up my microphone.
"It's been a really tough decision but I now want to spend a few years with my wife, Beverley, and our three dogs smelling the roses in my garden and spending time in the mountains of Austria.
“But now I feel it is the right time to move on. I will miss my dear co-presenter, Sangeeta, and my colleagues at ITV Meridian terribly. And, of course, I will miss our wonderful viewers who have given me such incredible love and support for so long.
“I've been so lucky in my life and career - 58 years working non-stop on regional and network programmes with ITV and I've been blessed by having a truly special family. So, to everyone - thank you."
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