A senior county court judge from Keighley has retired.

Judge Gordon Lingard, who presided for the last time at Skipton court on Friday, enjoyed a long career as a leading figure in civil and family law.

He fought against a proposal to axe Skipton magistrates and county courts and for the work to be transferred to Harrogate and Bradford.

Judge Lingard battled hard for the Skipton law courts to be retained and the county court work in Keighley, which was to be axed, taken to the town.

The move increased the status of Skipton, making it a District Registry of the High Court of Justice.

Judge Lingard said: “We managed to keep justice in Craven. The alternative would have been people travelling out of the district.

“I feel passionate about local justice. One moving example of that was shortly after Keighley closed, a woman in peril of losing her rented home walked all the way from Keighley to Skipton in the pouring rain to plead her case. It was a very emotional occasion.”

Judge Lingard, 65, was appointed a full-time district judge in December 1993 and, more recently, has been sitting four days in Skipton.

He started his career in 1971 as a trainee solicitor, qualifying in 1973 and becoming a deputy district judge in 1988, moving to Keighley in 1993.

He has also worked as a tutor judge for the Judicial College of England and Wales since 2003, and is a member of the International Committee of the Judicial College, a role that has seen him lecturing in French to judges in Paris, focusing on judicial ethics, lecturing in La Rochelle, in Bordeaux and being involved in conferences in Eastern Europe, including Bucharest, Krakow and in the Czech Republic.

He will travel to Tirana in Albania this month to teach judicial ethics to Albanian judges.

To escape the complex world of the law, he spends time singing with the Bradford-based choral choir Concordiamici, and is in the choir at All Saints’ Church in Keighley.

And for true escapism, he enjoys engrossing himself in his model railway – a passion for many years – especially running his Hornby live steam Flying Scotsman.