The Southern Daily Echo’s Mike Ford has retired after 43 years with the newspaper.
As regional business editor he had gained an intimate insight into the workings of commerce, industry and politics through keeping a finger on the pulse of the region’s economy.
Ford, who is already enjoying the freedom, said: “The biggest culture shock is no longer having to be in the office at 6.30am every day.
“I am still writing a monthly wine column for the Echo and do occasional motoring stories.
“What is nice is that I can choose when I want to do it.”
Ford joined the newspaper at Basingstoke after training as a young reporter in north Hampshire and Surrey with the Farnham Herald group and soon joined the head office team at Southampton to work on the paper’s newsdesk.
He then specialised in industry and commerce and regularly covered such stories as the early-morning strikes at Southampton docks.
He said: “As a young reporter I was asked to meet dockers’ leaders in the pub following a strike. I was only expecting a couple of people to be there, but I found myself faced with six angry men. It was terrifying, but extremely inspiring as a young reporter. It was a very worthwhile induction and was far removed from the business lunches held today.”
After a stint as motoring correspondent, he spent the past seven years as regional business and motoring editor for Newsquest publications on the south coast.
Ford has been instrumental in helping develop new publications and was at one time editor of a series of consumer magazines published alongside the Daily Echo.
He has children living abroad and has thought about moving away for part of the year, but for now Ford will continue to live in Hampshire with his wife, Jill.
Deputy news editor Ron Wain, who has worked at the Echo for six years, is Ford’s replacement.