This week, the Winchester Press bids farewell to its longtime managing editor and sports reporter, Al Van Bridger.

After 49 years he has set aside his multiple pairs of glasses, and put his keyboard to rest.

Here he is in his own words.

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When I started writing for the Winchester Press I used a manual Underwood typewriter and ended each article with a -30-.

One week into my 49th year with the Press I am signing off with -30-.

I am retiring – finally – and I have many to thank for what I consider an extremely rewarding career, which allowed me to witness the evolution of our community and its citizens.

First I thank former Press owners Reg and Ron Workman for hiring me full-time on Dec. 6, 1969 and members of the staff at that time, Brian “Bud” Raistrick, Ran Wylie, Maxine Baldwin and Ray Larson, for helping me settle in.

Next up a heartfelt thank you to the late Morris brothers, John and Robin, for extending my tenure with the Press and later appointing me as a co-publisher and managing editor a position I held until my final day on the job, Thurs., Dec. 14.

And I must extend my gratitude to the staff at our local schools, especially the teachers at North Dundas District High School who have volunteered their time to coach sports and in turn keep me informed of related activities. Also a nod to Andrew Whitton for the expertise he provided me as I reported on the projects his Transportation Technology students created.

It would be impossible to report our local minor and adult recreational sports without the co-operation of the volunteer organizers, managers and coaches and to all of those involved in such activities. Please keep sending those reports to the Presssports@winchesterpress.on.ca.

I have also been privileged to work with so many (too many to mention) talented, dedicated and interesting staff members throughout my years here.

I make my departure, not like so many politicians who roll up their sleeves, sit on the corner of their desks and droll on about how they want to spend more time with their families, which I do. I realize it is time to depart.

With the advancement of social media, which tells me to step aside, I am doing so.

I am proud to have been employed by one company for 49 years, but I relinquish the Longevity Award to my former colleague and friend Ran Wylie, who was a member of the Press staff for 51 years.

Thanks to all of our loyal readers, especially the business community, for your continuous support.

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