A FORMER magistrate and organiser for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme in Oxfordshire has died aged 85.

Alison Margaret Layng was the first Youth Officer in Oxford for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and once had special responsibility for the Girls Award.

She oversaw thousands of youngsters achieve the awards and chaired a number of national and regional committees.

She also sat as a magistrate in Oxford for 25 years and was later recognised for her contribution.

Ms Layng was born in New Delhi, India, on December 23, 1928 to Thomas Layng, a major in the Indian Army, and his wife Mabel. In 1932, her father gave up his military life and returned to England, being ordained as a chaplain and fellow of Balliol College.

He later became chaplain to King George VI, then the Queen, and Ms Layng, aged 25, watched him take part in the Queen’s coronation procession in 1953.

Ms Layng attended Oxford High School and a finishing school in Switzerland, before returning to Oxford for secretarial college, where she excelled.

She worked as a shorthand typist, at the Gloucestershire Royal Infirmary in 1948 before taking a job on Oxford City Council’s education committee from 1951-74, rising to secretary to the Chief Education Officer. She then moved to work on Oxfordshire County Council’s Education Committee as a youth officer, staying there until 1989 when she retired full-time, but stayed on until 1990 as a part-time consultant.

She started a long association with the Oxfordshire Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme in 1958, as a volunteer group leader, spearheading the pilot Girls Award in Oxford.

In 1962 she became the first female youth officer in Oxford, and recruited volunteers, leaders and trainers for the new Girls Award. In 1974 she took a position as youth advisor for the county, seeing more than 16,000 participants pass through.

She became a magistrate in 1973 and continued in the position until 1998, specialising in the juvenile and family courts.

She also set up the Stanton Ballard Charitable Trust, named after her friend who died in 1986, which donated money to Oxford residents in hardship or distress. She remained a trustee until 2003.

She was a keen traveller, walker and nature lover, being a member of the RSPCA and the National Trust.

She spent her final years in Emden House, Headington, and her last 15 months in Green Gates Nursing Home, Oxford. She died on March 1.

She did not marry and is survived by her brother, Tom, and nine godchildren.

A funeral will be held on March 24 at St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington, Oxford, at 1.30pm, followed by a cremation service at Oxford Crematorium.