Fred, who grew up in Portsmouth and is a devout blues fan, is one of ITV’S longest-serving regional news anchors, with a career spanning almost 38 years.
But tonight the well-known presenter revealed he is stepping down from Meridian, to spend more time with his family and to focus on other projects.
Fred told stunned viewers, “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 have given me such incredible love and support for so long.
“I’ve been so lucky in my life and career – 58 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.”
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 region ever since 1983 working with presenters such as Fern Britton, Debbie Thrower and Natasha Kaplinsky, beaming into our living rooms each night.
For the past 12 years, Fred has co-hosted ITV News Meridian with Sangeeta Bhabra, who Fred describes as ‘the most marvellous person to work with’.
Paying tribute to her colleague, Sangeeta said, “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.”