Volume XVI of The University Observer has drawn to a close, and with it my tenure as editor of this rather excellent publication. I hope that those who have come and gone before are as happy and as proud to add this volume to our archives as I have been to take the helm.

Our best reward as student journalists is seeing someone pick up our work and enjoy it. To all our readers who have picked up this newspaper over the past year, thank you. Whether reading News, Sport or just Mystic Mittens, the delight that comes when seeing you enjoying our work makes every moment worthwhile.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading as much as I have, and I have enjoyed it immensely. I have cried tears of laughter and of sadness, learned new ideas and been taught new lessons, hated nothing and loved Jedward and it has all been thanks to the most fantastic team of writers and contributors I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

There are too many of you to thank you all by name, but I would like you all to know that your contributions to this newspaper are so greatly appreciated. Without you all, the Observer wouldn’t be what it is and I truly hope you have enjoyed your time with Volume XVI. For those of you moving on, I wish you all the very best in life after UCD and I hope that you will look back on your time with this paper with the same fondness in memories as I will.

And to all of you with a little more time to give, I hope that Volume XVI has inspired and encouraged you to come back to us again next year. I hope that you can bring Volume XVII the same wit, style and enthusiasm that you have delivered so faithfully every fortnight this year.

While there have been so many writers, photographers and contributors with us this year, there has been a core group of outstanding people who have dedicated so much of their time and skills to this publication. Without our Section Editors, the newspaper would cease to function, ideas would run dry, styles would be lost and deadlines never met. This job has been made so easy thanks to their work.

Matt you have never ceased to impress me with your knowledge and dedication, not just to features but to the whole newspaper. Your work has been a pleasure to read, and your witty company in our office has always been greatly welcome. Thank you for so capably taking on the role of Chief Features Writer, it suited you beautifully.

Sean, your unyielding passion for fashion has generated so many Gok comparisons I fear you may hate us all. You poured so much of yourself into your fashion pages and brought so many new themes to the fore – thank you for injecting life and colour into our fashion section, and for bringing it back to our readers.

Conor, from the very first conversation about films, I knew our film and television section would be in exceptional hands. Always a delight to read your work, I hope you have taken as much from your role as you have given. From one minute interviews to two hour junkets, your ability to make us all read with enthusiasm and laugh so easily is one that comes so naturally. Whether stand-up, film-making or reviewing is where your career is headed, I have no doubt you will excel.

Grace, firstly thank you for stepping in to the role of Music Editor, I hope you have enjoyed it. Your presence in the office has always brightened our days, and your ability to argue with Colin over your love of music brought a smile to all our faces. I feel it was fate that your mug is slightly bigger than the others, as befitting your status as a tea connoiseur. Thank you, not just for this year, but for all the years of hard work you have invested with us – I know I speak for several of my predecessors when I say that it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you.

Colin Scally, our image guru. There are so many things to thank you for, not least the introduction of Sporcle to our office. You turned out in hail, rain or shine to follow soccer, rugby, twister and so much more. You gave life and colour to all our pages through your pictures, and brought so much fun to the Observer through your wit and humour. Thank you for giving up your Saturdays to the Hockey stadium, and your Friday nights to the Belfield Bowl. I hope that you have enjoyed working with us as much as I have enjoyed working with you.

Farouq, our northside correspondent, thank you for sacrificing your little free time to the Science pages. Thank you for staying with us until the end – through OSCEs and delivering babies, through exams and Winter Olympic hockey finals, I’m truly grateful for your dedication. We’ve sadly seen too little of you over the year, but your visits have always brought laughter and snacks to the office. Your talent for writing I’m sure is only surpassed by your talent for medicine, and I wish you all the very best in that crazy career.

James, the last of our outlying faculty members, thank you for picking up the mantle of the Comment pages from the great distance of Roebuck Castle. Your style and ideas have always impressed, as has your travel schedule. The day I saw your Freshers’ Week performance in Astra Hall, I knew you would fit in admirably in our swell group. You are not the only, but certainly the first, man to go up against John Logue this year and win, and you did it with significantly less clothing than the others. The paper, and the office, has been so much the better with you.

Peter, our incredible 26-mile yes man, I still cannot fathom the lengths to which you’ve gone for this newspaper. Our Features section has never been as excellent as it has with you at the helm, your talent for writing is the envy of the office and your company is always a highlight of a day. Should you ever tire of your miniatures, your charm and skill would make you a superb asset to any newspaper.

Kristin, thank you so much for taking our vague ideas of design and turning them into a simply stunning reality. Changing such a longstanding design was a daunting task I’m sure, but you gave our newspaper a beautiful new look with ease and one that is admired by everyone who sees it.

Colin Sweetman, you never let your abandonment issues get in your way, thank you for shouldering the great burden of otwo on your own, you have done such a wonderful job. I know it hasn’t been an easy year for you but you managed to juggle your degree, your job, your music and otwo and never let the quality drop – even napping at the desk. I know you never enjoyed the fame that Sweetward brought you, but you endured it with great humour and grace. Thank you for all your hard work, otwo has been in such safe hands, I hope you enjoyed your year as much as I have.

Killian, our roving iternational sports journalist, never have I seen a Sports editor give so much energy, passion, time and dedication to the newspaper. From the minute you accepted the job before fleeing north to Bundoran, I knew our sport pages were in the safest of hands. Your presence in the office has been a welcome constant throughout the year – you have brought laughter, knowledge and an unprecedented collection of pilfered mementos. Thank you so much for being there every weekend, the whole year has been so much more enjoyable thanks to you.

Bridget, our long-suffering Newshound, your ability to take every joke in your stride and relate any topic back to feminism are two of the reasons we love you so much. Our urban family may be breaking up, but never will I look back on a year with as much fondness as I will this one, and in no small part down to you. I feared I had given you the world’s worst birthday gift when I landed the News section in your lap, but you took it on with enthusiasm and made it something I am so proud of. I truly hope you have enjoyed your tenure as News Editor and fellow Fantasy Girl, I know that no matter what you do, you will always be on top.  Thank you so much for all the wonderful memories this year, and I hope we can have many more.

Gavan, deputy only in title, I could never have done this job without you. There was never any doubt that you would work tirelessly to make the Observer the best it could be, and I know that we have achieved that this year. I am so proud of our newspaper, and so thrilled that our ideas and skills gelled so perfectly together – I would not have wanted to share this year with anyone else. Your vast knowledge never ceases to amaze me, and has resulted in an abundent table quiz booty that should go down in history. I know that no matter what you turn your hand to, you will only ever excel and be held in the highest esteem, as you are here and now by everyone involved in the Observer not least by me. You’ve become a wonderful friend this year, and I know that you will remain so for many more to come. Thank you for simply everything.