A LONG standing news anchor has announced he will leave his post after nearly 40 years.

After almost four decades, one of ITV’s longest serving regional news anchors, Fred Dinenage leaving ITV News Meridian at Christmas.

Fred said: "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.

Fred has anchored the 6pm flagship regional news programme across the South of England since 1983 working with presenters such as Fern Britton, Debbie Thrower and Natasha Kaplinsky.

For the past 12 years he has co-hosted ITV News Meridian with Sangeeta Bhabra, who he describes as "the most marvellous person to work with."

He said: "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 - fifty eight 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."

The head of news at Meridian Alison Nice said that Fred will be missed greatly by his colleagues.

She said: "He is an absolute professional who is loved by those who watch our show and his colleagues. Fred is the same person off screen as he is on.

"He is warm and caring and has time for everyone in the team. Fred is a brilliant journalist and presenter and we will all miss him very much."

Fred will leave ITV Meridian in December to spend more time with his family and to work on other projects.

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