A LEADING community figure who became the UK's first Muslim judge has died after suffering a heart attack.

Judge Khurshid Drabu, who lived in Winchester, was taken to Southampton General Hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit but doctors were unable to save the 72-year-old.

His funeral was held at Southampton Medina Mosque in Compton Walk this morning and was attended by about 400 mourners.

Judge Drabu arrived in England in November 1971 with just £3 in his pocket. But with an infectious determination, changed attitudes within the country for the better through his work within the community.

He became a leading immigration expert with landmark victories.

Throughout his remarkable career he became one of the most influential and respected Muslims in the UK.

He headed the government-funded Immigrants Advisory Service, became head of the Commission for Racial Equality’s legal and complaints department winning high profile cases in racial discrimination and in 1996 he made history by becoming the first Muslim to become a judge in the UK.

Judge Drabu was also a former chairman and member of the managing board at Southampton Medina Mosque.

He was also an honorary advisor to the Ministry of Defence on Muslim affairs.

After his appointment the number of Muslims in the armed forces rose from 25 to nearly 800 thanks to policies he worked to put in place.

His work building bridges between communities earned him a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2010.

In an interview three years later he said: "My inspiration for putting in long hours in community work is the future of my children and grandchildren and our nation as a whole.

"I just hope one day we will live in a society where there is a better understanding of each other. That is all I seek really."