Louise Minchin broke down while hosting BBC Breakfast for the last time today.
The presenter, 53, first appeared on the broadcaster’s flagship morning news show in 2001 and joked that she was leaving to avoid the gruesome start.
Her co-host Dan Walker bids her farewell by taking her out blindfolded – to reveal the crowd gathered around her wearing a mask adorning her face.
A video montage was played showing her the highlights of her 20 years on screen.
Lewis said she was “embarrassed and humbled and tearful” by the messages.
Addressing the audience, she said: “Thank you so much for your huge support. I especially think about the last two years as well. It’s been really tough, hasn’t it, and I thought we all had a story.” Together, a shared history and it has been wonderful to be here.”
I feel really fortunate to be in that position and have worked here all those years
Lewis said: “Some people have really grown up watching me, as they say.
“And I feel really privileged to be in that position and have worked here all those years.
“There have been tough days, there have been tough stories. But it’s been amazing and I’m really, really impressed with everything that people have said.”
Today he revealed that his BBC pass had already been deactivated and locked outside the office.
The presenter confirmed in June that she would be leaving the program.
Speaking to the Mirror this week about her decision, Lewis said: “I found early mornings very difficult and another cold of dark mornings was not what I wanted to do anymore.
“I just thought, ‘I can’t face another cold,’ because the last 20 years I’ve worked, there are about six weeks a year when I go to work and it’s mild, and those six weeks. contain what I find easiest.”
Lewis has covered a range of major global news stories during his time on BBC Breakfast, including the general election, Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and terrorist attacks.
She has also interviewed famous faces including the Duchess of Cambridge, singer Billie Eilish and naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
In 2019, she hosted the Wake Up to Menopause campaign after elaborating on experiencing hot flushes while presenting live TV.
She also took up endurance sports after competing in the BBC Breakfast Christmas cycling challenge and went on to compete internationally for the GB Triathlon team in her age group.