TRIBUTE has been paid to a former Durham magistrate who has died aged 68 after an illness.

Alex Rudd, of Sherburn Village, joined what was then the city's bench - now North Durham Magistrates - in 1979 and served until taking early retirement four years ago.

He served on a number of panels and was deputy chairman and chairman of the magistrates courts committee.

Mr Rudd, who was also a parish councillor, worked for the National Coal Board as a mechanic and was an assistant engineer when he retired.

He had previously been a military policeman in the RAF, winning awards for dog-handling, and became a keen golfer, representing the RAF. He later became a member of Houghton Golf Club in Houghton-le-Spring and served as its captain.

Mr Rudd leaves a widow, Maureen, two daughters and two grandchildren.

Bench chairman Mac Williams said: "He took early retirement from the bench in 2001 but kept in touch with colleagues and will be sadly missed.

"His judicial skills were first class and he was highly respected by his colleagues , solicitors and court staff.''

Mr Williams added that the funeral would be held on Wednesday (oct5) at 12.15pm in Sherburn Village Parish Church and be followed afterwards by cremation at Durham Crematorium.