Fred Dinenage is to step down as the main presenter on ITV News Meridian.
Fred, 79, who has spent nearly four decades at ITV, will leave at Christmas.
The presenter, who lives in the Meon Valley, said: “After almost thirty eight 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. I will be continuing with my crime programmes and ITV’s ‘How?’ and writing books, including one recently commissioned.
“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’ve 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.”
During his career Fred has presented regional programmes made by Southern Television and its successor TVS, including Tell the Truth and Coast to Coast.
In the 1970s he covered regional sport for Yorkshire Television and went on to host the network ITV Saturday afternoon show World of Sport, a role that saw him cover two Olympic Games. Fred became a household name on the children’s television programme How? and only last year appeared in every episode of a new series of the show, made for CITV.
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 Fred describes as “the most marvellous person to work with.”
Sangeeta says: “Fred has been the best teacher and co-presenter. I always knew this day would come and though I’m really happy that Fred will be spending more time with his family and doing the things he loves, I will miss him massively along with the Meridian team and our viewers.”
Fred has won RTS awards for many of the news programmes he has worked on and in 2010 was given an MBE for services to broadcasting. He has covered many big stories during his career, from the murder of Sarah Payne, to the Salisbury Novichok poisonings and the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Fred has interviewed high-profile people in politics, entertainment and sport, from Tony Blair to Dame Vera Lynn and The Beatles.