A senior county court judge, who was instrumental in helping to save the courts in Skipton, has retired.

Judge Gordon Lingard cited that triumph as a high point in his long career as a leading figure in civil and family law.

The proposal was to axe Skipton magistrates and county courts and for the work to be transferred to Harrogate Magistrates and Bradford County Courts.

Judge Lingard fought hard for the Skipton Law Courts to be retained and for the work of Keighley County Court – which was to be closed – to be brought to Skipton.

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, who lives in Keighley, was appointed a full-time district judge in December 1993 and more recently had been sitting four days in Skipton.

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

Since 2003 he has also worked as a tutor judge for the Judicial College of England and Wales and is a member of the International Committee of the Judicial College, a role which has seen him lecturing on judicial ethics in French to judges in Paris and taking part in conferences in Eastern Europe including Bucharest and Krakow and also in the Czech republic.

This month he travels to Tirana in Albania 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 in the choir at All Saints’ Church, 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.