LONG STANDING news anchor Fred Dinenage was a mainstay on our screens for almost four decades.

The 79-year-old announced earlier this month he will be leaving his post as the presenter of ITV News Meridian at Christmas.

After nearly 40 years, Fred is one of ITV’s longest serving regional news anchors.

Following the announcement, he said: "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.”

Here’s a look back at his career.

Fred Dinenage’s on-screen career began in 1964 when he was hired on a seven-week contract by Southern Television.

Fred appeared for a short period on Three Go Round before beginning work on How! in 1966. The show went on to become the longest-running children’s programme on ITV.

The Argus: Fred Dinenage Fred Dinenage

When TVS took over from Southern in 1982, he survived the major restructuring that ensue, which saw most of Southern’s programmes scrapped along with the presenters – but not Fred.

He went on to present a host of programmes including Coast to Coast with Fern Britton from 1984, before going on to co-anchor Meridian Tonight.

It was Fern and Fred that said “thanks for watching” on the last night of TVS when it was taken over by Meridian on January 1, 1993.

This change bought about more job losses, but Fred survived the cut once again.

He continued to present the station’s news programme with Fern - which became Meridian Tonight - until she went to London News as an entertainment reporter.

Fred and Debbie Thrower worked together until she left the station in 1994 and Jane Whyatt was promoted to co-anchor.

The Argus: Fred Dinenage Fred Dinenage

However, Whyatt’s time with Fred was short-lived as the station dropped her in 1998.

The 39-year-old was replaced by a 25-year-old Natasha Kaplinsky.

Natasha’s stay at the station was also brief – within a year she left to climb the career ladder as the main presenter for ITV’s new London service LNN.

Fred was then reunited with Debbie Thrower, who had left Meridian for BBC Radio 2. The pair remained together through the station’s move from its studio at Northam, Southampton, to its current premises in Whiteley.

More redundancies came in 2009 in which Debbie left and Fred remained.

Debbie was replaced by Sangeeta Bhabra, who has worked with Fred ever since.

The Argus: Fred Dinenage Fred Dinenage

Fred, who was appointed MBE for services to broadcasting in 2010, won’t be disappearing from our screens completely though as he intends to carry on presenting How! and other programmes.

The 79-year-old, the official biographer of notorious London gangsters the Kray Twins, also plans to busy himself by writing more books.

Fred 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 – f58 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.”