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Death of Firefox writer Craig Thomas at 68

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A best-selling author who taught English at schools in the Midlands and whose work inspired a Clint Eastwood film has died at the age of 68.

A best-selling author who taught English at schools in the Midlands and whose work inspired a Clint Eastwood film has died at the age of 68.

Craig Thomas's book Firefox became a hit Eastwood film. The author of more than six best-sellers, Mr Thomas had a literary career spanning more than 30 years. He is often credited as creator of the "techno-thriller" genre.

He taught at Shire Oak School, Walsall Wood, and King Edward VI School, Lichfield. Preston Baynham-Hughes, who worked with him at the Lichfield Road school, said: "Craig joined Shire Oak in the early 1970s as head of English.

"On his arrival not only did he raise the standards of examination results but he wrote and directed several plays for pupils to perform.

"He made writing his living and then went on to write over 15 thrillers based around spies in the Cold War. Craig will be fondly remembered by staff at the school for his sense of humour and his love of cricket."

He was captain of the staff cricket team and provided the DCO Thomas award – presented to staff annually for cricketing achievements.

He was also guest speaker at the school's inaugural awards evening.

Mr Thomas died after a short battle with acute myeloid leukaemia. He rose to fame with his second novel, Firefox, in 1977, following debut 1974 novel, Rat Trap. Other works were Snow Falcon, Firefox Down and A Different War.

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Born and educated in Cardiff, he studied at university there before moving to the Midlands and teaching.

He lived with his wife and editor Jill, Whittington, on the outskirts of Lichfield, but recently moved to Somerset. Work included philosophical essays and a work on Friedrich Nietzsche.

Friend Tony Mulliken today said heroes in his novels would have been proud of his bravery and fortitude.

By Catherine Dalton

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