A DEDICATED print specialist who spent almost three decades leading a key role at a Runcorn printing firm has retired.

In 1990, Phil Long was one of the founders of Tall Security Print on Manor Park.

Nine years later, the company acquired Hinckley-based Checkprint to create the Tall Group, which later acquired the Northern Irish printing specialist DLRT Ltd in 2015.

Group production director Phil has now retired after 27 years, following a half century career in the print industry.

With more than 50 years of experience in the print industry, he has retired after 27 years serving as group production director.

Bill Lamb, group finance director, The Tall Group of companies, said: “Phil has been the driving force on the production side of our business since day one and he played a major role in the growth of the Tall Group.

"He oversaw the implementation of the latest printing equipment and played an instrumental role in the organisation achieving the ISO9001 standard.

"Over the last 27 years he has shown incredible levels of hard work and dedication, which has significantly contributed to the company's ongoing success.”

Phil said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Tall Group and the company remains in the safe hands of a very talented team.

"I’m looking forward to using my newly found freedom to travel the world and spend more time with my grandchildren.”

Phil was presented with a framed shirt of his favourite football team Manchester United, signed by former player Norman Whiteside.

Ed Starkey, who is in his 26th year at the company, has been appointed operations director for the Runcorn operation.

Ed, from Widnes, joined Tall Security Print as a small offset printer, where he supervised a single-colour printing press.

Various promotions over the years saw him managing a range of larger machinery, including the multi-colour continuous web presses.