The Bournemouth Echo’s editor and news editor, Andy Martin, has announced he is to step down in the summer after 31 years at the newspaper.

Andy, 59, has been the news editor since 1997 and in the combined position for the past four and a half years.

But his move to semi-retirement is not the end of his long association with the Echo.

He will take on a new role as associate editor and community ambassador for the paper.

Andy’s friend and colleague, Gordon Sutter, the editor of the Daily Echo in Southampton takes over at Bournemouth in June and will edit both newspapers, website and all titles published from Richmond Hill.

Andy said: “The Echo has been my life and my passion for more than three decades. I feel very privileged to have had a wonderful career here and to work with many amazing, talented and dedicated people, not least my current, brilliant newsroom team.

“I am of course absolutely delighted to be able to continue my association with the Echo in a new and important way.

“I am also delighted at Gordon’s appointment. We have worked closely together since the early 90s and have been friends throughout that period. He is an exceptional journalist and I know the Bournemouth Echo and all our titles will be in very safe hands.”

Vincent Boni, Managing Director, Hampshire and Dorset said: “I should like to pay tribute to Andy as an exceptional journalist and editorial manager.

“Andy will remain close to the Bournemouth business and will take up a new role as an associate editor and community ambassador in a move towards semi retirement.

“This change takes immediate effect although Andy and Gordon will be working together during a transition period.

“I congratulate Gordon on his wider responsibilities.”

Gordon, 51, joined the company 30 years ago and has worked in both the Bournemouth and Southampton newsrooms over that time and has been editor of the Southern Daily Echo for two years.

He said: “Andy will be a hard act to follow but I am really looking forward to joining the team in Bournemouth.”