LONG-SERVING editor Steve Cohen parted company with the Bucks Free Press today after 24 years.

Steve, 49, has left Newsquest and will return to his freelance career after 18 years in charge of the BFP and its sister paper, the South Bucks Star.

He joined the BFP in 1989 as News Editor when it was owned by Westminster Press and he was promoted to the editorship in July 1994, before also taking the helm at the Star in 1995.

Steve was perhaps best known in his local community for his campaigns, which most notably included the long-running Hands Off Our Hospital fight. He launched the battle to save NHS services in High Wycombe way back in 2004 and was backed by thousands of readers who were alarmed to see sections of their hospital being relocated to Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury.

Last year, he won a notable victory when he secured 24-7 minor injury care at Wycombe Hospital – overturning plans to close the unit at night following the transfer of A&E to Aylesbury.

Steve also oversaw the BFP's transformation from broadsheet to compact, as well as the implementation of two full-page make-up systems. And he was there at the birth of the Bucks Free Press website, helping make it the spectacular success it is today.

South Bucks Star readers knew him best for his weekly Editor's Chair column which ran for almost two decades.

“I shall miss the BFP and Star's fantastic readers and staff, but I'm 50 next month and am relishing the chance of some new challenges,” he said. “I have no regrets and I had plenty of opportunity over the years to enjoy the wonderful privilege of being a local newspaper editor.

“When I joined as news editor in 1989, I actually didn't like it at first but persuaded myself to stick it out for a year. So it's fair to say I exceeded my own expectations after hanging on for almost a quarter of a century.

“I leave behind a fantastic staff and set of newspapers and wish them well for the future. I thank Newsquest for its support over many years and wish all the company's papers the very best success. I now very much look forward to what happens next in my career.”