Steve Leary, left, has been with the St Helens Star for 40 of the 41 years the paper has been in existence.
When the newspaper was launched in 1973, few gave the “upstart freesheet” any chance of survival.
But the paper, now owned by Newsquest, soon proved itself with a mix of local news and sports coverage allied to hard-hitting local campaigns.
Steve, 65, said: “It’s a source of pride that so many St Helens people have taken the Star to their hearts.”
He listed among his the best memories of his editorship as fighting off a “land grab” by the Boundary Commission to place Haydock Park racecourse in neighbouring Wigan, raising £90,000 for surgery for a baby girl with a facial disfigurement, and backing the campaign to establish Willowbrook Hospice.
News of Steve’s retirement led to a flurry of tributes from senior figures across the town.
St Helens North Labour MP Dave Watts said: “He has been a great servant to the people of St Helens and always did his utmost to promote the best interests of the borough. His enthusiasm and dedication will be sorely missed.”
Carole Hudson, chief executive of St Helens Council, described Steve as “a true champion for St Helens”.
“St Helens and its people are in his blood and he has carried out sterling work in highlighting and campaigning for local causes. “He has always been fair and measured in his work and his integrity is second to none,” he said.
Council leader Barrie Grunewald added: “I have always admired Steve for his complete impartiality, commitment and his drive to report issues of the day in a fair manner.
“So many people around St Helens have him to thank for raising local issues and injustice along with highlighting some of the plights faced by some residents
The Star is currently distributed to more than 70,000 homes each week.