A FORMER Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times sports reporter has died aged 61.

Steve Thomson, whose career spanned 35 years, covered Witney Town Football Club and was a sports sub-editor during his three years in Oxford.

Most recently he worked as a production journalist at The Daily Telegraph.

An accomplished guitarist, Mr Thomson worked for a local paper in Eccles, Greater Manchester, and covered Swinton Lions rugby league club before joining the sports desk at the Oxford Mail in 1980.

He left to join the Reading Evening Post in 1983, covering Reading Football Club.

Mr Thomson then joined the Press Association before embarking on a long career at both the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, for which he covered games around the country for more than 20 years.

A keen sportsman, he played soccer for Chazey Heath in the Reading Sunday League for many years and was a passionate Manchester United fan.

Following an interest in animals, he also wrote features about birdlife of the Scottish Highlands, Andalucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Israel, which were published in Outdoor magazine and Bird Watching.

He also edited the newsletter of Reading Rambling Club and was an active member of his Christian community at St Michael’s Church in Spencers Wood, near Reading, where he lived.

Mr Thomson was born in St Michael’s Vicarage, Peel Green, Manchester, on November 17, 1953.

He was the son of a clergyman who came to this country from Jamaica, and one of seven siblings.

Mr Thomson attended St Michael’s Primary School and Urmston Grammar School, both in Manchester, and later gained a BA degree in English with American Literature at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

He moved from central Reading to his final home in Spencers Wood in 1997.

Until his death he continued to work as a journalist, freelancing as a sub-editor for the Daily Telegraph once a week.

Mr Thomson lived alone, was part of a large family of four brothers and three sisters and was a well-loved uncle to his many nephews and nieces.

Mr Thomson died of heart disease on January 25.

He is survived by his brothers Andrew and Paul, sisters Gillian, Christine and Mary, and six nephews and four nieces.

His funeral will take place at St Michael’s Church, Spencers Wood, at 11.30am, on February 26. All are welcome.

The service will be followed by cremation at 12.45pm at East Hampstead Park Crematorium.