The BBC’s political editor in the West Midlands is to retire after 45 years of working for the corporation, 22 of them as a presenter.
Patrick Burns began his career covering the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and reported on 11 UK general elections, interviewing seven prime ministers.
He went on to launch and then present Sunday morning political programmes in the West Midlands.
He is set to leave the BBC in September.
Burns started out as a graduate news trainee in London in 1975 before joining the reporting team in Northern Ireland in 1977.
He went on to work with the likes of Jeremy Paxman, Gavin Esler, Nicholas Witchell and James Robbins.
By 1985, he made regular appearances on BBC network news as a political correspondent and went on to produce and edit programmes including Midlands Today and Crimewatch Midlands.
‘I will be watching’
His wealth of experience saw him asked to launch, edit and later present a new breed of political programming, including Midlands at Westminster, The Politics Show and Sunday Politics.
The 68-year-old signed-off from his final edition of Sunday Politics last December.
“I have had a long, varied and generally very happy career. I’ll always be grateful to the BBC for giving me such a wealth of memorable experiences to tell my grandchildren about, whether they want to hear about them or not,” he said.
“We are about to emerge into a much-changed political landscape involving very different ways of working. So the time is right for a new political editor to prepare for this new world of ours.
“I have some great colleagues and I’ll miss them all. But I will be watching.”
Declan Wilson, BBC Head of Online and TV news said: “Few can compare in terms of knowledge and commitment to political coverage. Patrick’s departure will be a real loss. He is a true gentleman and complete professional.”
Nick Owen, his friend and BBC Midlands Today colleague of 23 years praised his “wonderfully dry sense of humour”, adding that he “always epitomised what is good” about the BBC.
“Honest, fair, impartial, knowledgeable and measured – those are the sort of words I would use to describe his style.
“A style born of great experience and the highest integrity. It has always been an absolute pleasure to spend time with him, on screen or off.”
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