Colleagues, barristers and judges have all paid tribute to Southern Daily Echo court reporter John Hoskins, who is hanging up his notebook after 50 years.
Last week, in a farewell ceremony at Southampton Crown Court, Judge Peter Ralls told Hoskins (both pictured): “I don’t think that you are aware of just how well you are regarded and how highly you are held in our esteem as a very, very good chief crime correspondent, if not the best.
"And here you are for your final sentence.”
Another retired judge, Derwin Hope, returned to the court especially to pay tribute to Hoskins.
He said: “At meetings of judges I always told them that we had an excellent local newspaper which reports properly and fairly by a first class team and you John are in the highest rank of all.
"You are a legend in your own time.”
Meanwhile, Ian Murray, editor-in-chief of the Southern Daily Echo, said he was "honoured to have been one of a string of editors who have had the privilege to work with John over the years".
He added: “His professionalism has always shone through and, what’s extremely important to any editor, I have always known him to be a safe pair of hands when handling sensitive court copy.
“It is a cliché to say that John is one of a dying breed and that in these days, when few people spend a single decade doing the same job, it is impossible to see how anyone will be able to boast of such a wonderful continuity of service, yet that is the case.
“John has earned the respect of all who have worked with him both at the paper and at the courts, but most of all, his readers.”