The Surrey Comet has been going for more than 160 years.

The landscape of local newspapers, and society in general, has changed beyond recognition, but when Thomas Philpott launched the Comet in 1854, he did it to fight for people’s rights, to expose the bad and highlight the good. Our overall aim remains the same, and long may that continue.

After nearly 15 years at the Surrey Comet, this week's was my last edition and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the people who have made Kingston such a special place to work.

I leave with a heavy heart, but very proud of what my teams and I have done through the years.

From a 20-year-old starting as a trainee reporter, navigating the borough with an A to Z, of all things, to the multimedia organisation we have become, I have never lost belief in the importance of local news.

Where once we searched for newspaper sales, now we seek web hits. When once people waited for their weekend Comet, or the midweek editions, people follow us on Twitter and Facebook, seeking the latest news as it happens.

I have been lucky enough to get to know the area well – the people, the places, the politicians. It has been a genuine honour to serve a borough with a history and identity like no other.

To Sean Duggan, who also leaves the company today after 20 years, and to June Sampson, who has been awarded the freedom of the borough for her work with the Surrey Comet, and the borough as a whole, I am in your debt for helping me into this industry.

Thank you too to my successors in news editing the papers, David Lindsell and Ross Logan, who have continued the fine tradition of this newspaper.

To the people of Kingston, please continue to support your local newspaper.

We need your letters, your stories and, indeed, your advertising. Without you, we do not exist, and I thank you for everything you have done for us over the years.