Reporter Liz Coates reflects on her 25 years covering stories in her home town of Great Yarmouth as she prepares for a new challenge.

I started just after Princess Diana died.

It wasn't a great time to be a reporter, in fact one of my fellow trainees was chased out of a pub with a pool cue for "killing that girl", such was the hostility.

A quarter of a century later I am in a state of disbelief - where did the time go?

Much has changed. But for my part the business of talking to people and sharing their stories has never really wavered, and looking back it is always the sad ones that stand out.

The times when I feel I have done the best job and felt the most useful are almost always to do with trauma and tragedy, because I really did care.

I have sat in living rooms and cried with bereaved parents apologising for being a blubbering mess, been chased by geese, and had an eagle eat meat out of my belly button during one my weirder assignments.

In terms of variety it's the best job in the world and Great Yarmouth is an interesting and busy patch which has everything, the good, the bad, and the downright bizarre - sometimes all in one one day.

One minute you can be challenging the authorities, the next you can be covering a deer that thinks its a dog, and then chasing a speedy Prince Philip around the Norfolk showground.

Along with the tough stories there have been plenty of laughs like the rude scarecrow who had "too much of an allotment" or the man who named his son after the entire Manchester United squad.

Highlights I will always remember are Gorleston's role in the the Danny Boyle Yesterday film which saw thousands gather on the beach for the concert scene, having my future predicted by lipstick prints, and someone coming into the office with Hitler's spoons and a potato that looked like a gorilla.

It is also thanks to being a reporter I gave up smoking after doing a feature on hypnotism to see if it worked.

I have loved it even when it meant covering town council meetings three times a week and hearing bus shelters being debated in depressing detail.

Nowadays everyone is connected via social media and everyone debates everything and gets very angry. Stories flare and burn, but die away quickly.

In the old days if an issue generated 10 letters it was the equivalent of a Twitter storm

From a young age I always wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer.

After A-levels I worked for a year in Norwich Union's solicitors office then went off to Leicester University to study English and afterwards did an MA in Mass Communications.

Returning to Norfolk I set my sights on working for the EDP/Yarmouth Mercury and joined the advertising department hoping for a way in.

At the time the paper was still recovering from its move from broadsheet to "compact" sized - we weren't allowed to say tabloid.

I worked for the department that helped produce a women's section called La Vista, occasionally writing articles and also submitting the odd, awful travel feature the editors politely published.

But my "back door" entry plan worked.

My first posting to Yarmouth was brief. After that I joined the team in Cromer under chief reporter Richard Batson, a brilliant writer who taught me that people were at the heart of every story.

In those days when you could be sent anywhere at the drop of a hat you always kept wellies in the car, it was the first rule.

Today, despite all the changes, people still want a trusted news source.

They want their newspapers to reflect their community, share their highs and lows, and give them reliable information and sometimes make them laugh - and, hopefully, I have been a small part in providing that service.

Many of the amazing people I have met and worked with I will take with me as friends, so it's more of a sidestep than a final goodbye and I thank everyone who has trusted me with their stories along the way. It has been a real privilege to be part of this community.

Now I'm moving on please send your news to