Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 17:09 UK

Gethin Jones to quit Blue Peter

Gethin Jones
The BBC is now searching for a new Blue Peter presenter

Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones has announced he is quitting the BBC One children's show after more than three years working on the programme.

Jones became the 31st presenter when he joined the show in April 2005.

The 30-year-old Welshman will host his last programme at the end of the current series in June.

Jones said: "I've had a career on Blue Peter that you wouldn't even dream about and for that I feel privileged and fortunate."

'High expectations'

The star, who also presents BBC News 24's entertainment show E24, said he had " loved" working on the show but felt "the time is right to leave".

He added: "I've appreciated every day of the past three and a bit years and am grateful to all the viewers for tuning in.

"It's very sad to be jumping ship, but I will still be on-screen until the end of the series whilst working on other projects."

The BBC is now searching for a new presenter to take over in the autumn series of the programme.

Presenters Konnie Huq, Matt Baker, Gethin Jones and Zoe Salmon
Gethin Jones (centre right) joined the show in 2005

During his time on the show he has flown with the Red Arrows, fought as a Samurai warrior in Japan, played the violin at the Proms with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and learned how to race as a jockey.

BBC Children's Controller Richard Deverell said: "Gethin has more than lived up to our very high expectations of Blue Peter presenters with his total commitment, willingness to try anything and limitless good humour.

"He's done a brilliant job and we wish him well."

Konnie Huq, the 26th Blue Peter presenter, quit in January after 11 years.

Blue Peter, the world's longest-running children's programme, has been presented by 33 people since it was first broadcast on 16 October in 1958.

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