A pioneering youth leader, who introduced major initiatives such as holiday play schemes and summer camps across the district, has died after a long illness.

Dawn Turtle, who was 81 and a resident at Croft House care home in Eastburn, worked as a senior youth, community and education officer at Bradford Council for more than two decades until her retirement in the late 1990s.

Starting her youth work at Ilkley Grammar School and Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley, Dawn was said to be the first person in the UK to create and deliver play schemes for children during the school holidays.

She also set up junior leader courses for trainee youth workers, organised annual trips to Morecambe, and was involved in the Teddy Bears Picnic programme.

Her daughter, Jane Pearson, said: “Dawn’s great passion was always young people and they would gravitate towards her. She was tenacious, but with a heart of gold.”

Carl Dalton, community play and activities development manager at Bradford Council, was mentored by Dawn and described her as a “great champion for children’s rights and opportunities”.

Dawn, who suffered from dementia and lung cancer, is survived by three children and four grandchildren.