FORTY-two years of continuous service to the Daily Echo came to an end yesterday as Phil Burner retired.

He joined the paper in October 1968 as a darkroom assistant helping to develop pictures before becoming a staff photographer in 1972 and rising to picture editor in 1993.

After overseeing the change to digital pictures, he switched roles in 1998 to become the content editor of the Daily Echo’s new website, which he designed himself.

His most memorable moment was the day after Saints won the FA Cup in 1976 when he was invited on board the open top celebration bus with the players, which toured the city past tens of thousands of fans.

Other highlights were meeting famous people including Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Phil, 62, said: “The best thing about being a photographer is something happens and you get the chance to actually go and talk to the people who make the news.

As a photographer you often become a second pair of ears alongside the reporter.”

Asked what he would miss about the newsroom, he said: “It’s that excitement, that buzz. When everyone’s back is against the wall, it just works. People start shouting, people pitch in and people come in on their days off because that is what we do.”

Editor Ian Murray made a presentation in front of a packed newsroom full of colleagues past and present.

He said: “I’d like to express my gratitude to Phil for the way he worked tirelessly to create one of the most successful news websites in the country.

“He will be sorely missed by his colleagues.”