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Old-style journalist who converted to Islam has died, aged 59

Eddie Thomson, a former reporter at the Hastings Observer, has died aged 59 after a short illness.

He had worked as a journalist on local papers in the Hastings and Rother area for more than 20 years.

His career had taken in the Largs and Millport Weekly News, where he began his career in the 1960s, the Basingstoke Gazette and then the Rye and Battle News.

When the News merged with the Observer, Eddie went on to write for the Bexhill, Rye and Battle, and Hastings editions over the years, leaving in 2004.

Eddie was diagnosed with a brain tumour following a fall at his Ore home in March and died at a local hospice earlier this month.

In the 80s he became a Muslim – Hastings Mosque’s first convert to the religion. His Muslim name was Abdul Al Haque after the name of the Hastings Mosque (Masju-Al Haque) in recognition of being that first convert.

Editor Peter Lindsey said: “Eddie was a long-standing and well-known member of Observer staff. The news of his death is very sad.”

An old-style roving reporter, Eddie enjoyed getting out of the office, from covering courts and inquests to meeting contacts. Despite being a “stereotypical hack”, who enjoyed a drink and a smoke, Eddie became teetotal after he was introduced to the Muslim faith.

The man who introduced him, Tariq Rajbee, said: “In Arabic his name means Servant of The Truth and being a journalist the name fitted with his character nicely. His quiet, sincere and intelligent discourse was liked by everyone in the Muslim community.”

After leaving the Observer Eddie enjoyed travelling, was writing his first novel, and spent time teaching English to his Muslim friends, as well as enjoying his garden.