HE’S been a loyal servant of The News for 40 years.
Now Eric Grover has decided to bow out after decades of helping to put the pages of the daily paper together.
Eric has been a dedicated keyboard operator.
His duties included inputting a range of data such as football scores, shipping movements and listings for The Guide, as well as taking down sports reporters’ copy over the phone to make sure the Sports Mail hits its deadline every Saturday afternoon.
Yesterday, he gave a speech at The News’ headquarters at 1000 Lakeside North Harbour before saying his goodbyes.
His final working day is on Sunday when many others won’t be around.
And then he plans to enjoy his retirement.
Eric, 68, said: ‘I will miss the people. I have made some good friends. You find that work is a big part of your life, and you make a lot of friends that way.’
Howard Frost, news editor for The News, led the tributes to Eric.
‘We are all going to miss Eric,’ he said.
‘To work anywhere for 40 years is fantastic service.
‘Having done what he has done, it’s a really hard job.’
Dave Brawn, a sports writer for The News, said it wouldn’t be the same without him.
‘His work ethic is phenomenal,’ he said.
Eric began learning his trade as an apprentice keyboard operator at the former Grosvenor Press.
He was 15 when he joined the company, when it was based in Blackfriars Road, Somers Town, Portsmouth.
After completing his training he took a job in New Zealand doing keyboard work.
He then landed a job at The News in 1974 when the paper was based at The News Centre, in Hilsea – and the rest is history.
Asked what life was like then, Eric said: ‘It was a lot more labour-intensive. I have got lots of good memories.
‘There were good days and bad days. They were spread out and you tend to forget the bad days.’
He said one of the highlights was working on the night Labour stormed to a landslide victory in the 1997 general election.
Eric, who lives in Paulsgrove and grew up in Copnor, now plans to take a holiday to New Zealand.
He then hopes to take a job part-time at Portsmouth City Museum.