Printer John Adams will watch the Oxford Mail go to press for the last time tomorrow before retiring after 50 years of loyal service.

Father-of-three John, 64, from Wolvercote, north Oxford, followed in his father's footsteps by starting work in New Inn Hall Street in 1957, aged 15.

"Newspaper printing is what I always wanted to do and I have been lucky enough to do it," said Mr Adams, whose three sons followed him into the newspaper business.

"I started out in the days of hot metal and now the new press at Osney Mead is magnificent. When I started out and first saw the presses roll, it made my heart miss a beat - I knew I was a newspaper man - and I still get a little bit of a thrill when it happens today."

Mr Adams said the working conditions for printers today were "space age" compared to the 1950s, when "there was ink in the air and you breathed it in".

"If you had a shower in those days you could see the ink coming out of your skin," he added.

"The working conditions today are far superior and I think there is still a big future for newspapers - I don't think we will see them go in my lifetime. I still read the Oxford Mail on my day off.

"I'm planning to come back on a casual basis when I'm needed because it will be a real wrench to leave - one of the biggest things I will miss is the banter with the lads."

Mr Adams' sons, Stephen, 26, and Neil, 21, work night-shifts in the print hall at Newspaper House, and son Paul, 32, worked in newspaper sales before leaving to work for a telecoms firm.

In 2005, he and his wife Linda, from St Peter's Road, breathed a huge sigh of relief when Stephen recovered after suffering critical injuries in a quad bike accident on the Greek island of Zante.

Mr Adams left the Oxford Mail for four years before returning to work as a printer in Osney Mead in 2000.

Now he is officially retiring, he has got time to dig out memorabilia from his time as a wrestler.

He said: "I had 12 years as a wrestler and was on the bill with some of the big names. The bouts were choreographed to a certain extent, but I'm paying for it now with a little bit of arthritis.

"When I started as a printer at the Oxford Mail we had five different editions and the Sports Mail. I was told 'your name is not John, it's boy, and when someone shouts boy, you run'."

Geoff Harvey, printing services manager, said: "John has always been a larger-than-life figure within our work force and combined with his two sons, he revels in the role of being the head of 'The Adams Family'.

"John saw out the old press in 2004 and transferred to the new with enough enthusiasm to match that of his younger colleagues."