BARBARA Williamson, who has died aged 81, was a former Oxford magistrate, Lady Mayoress, careers advisor, church stalwart and lifelong socialist.

She worked for 18 years as an advisor for Oxford University Careers Service and was also an experienced magistrate, becoming only the second woman to chair the Oxford Bench.

She was also Lady Mayoress of Oxford the year her husband the Rev Tony Williamson was Lord Mayor.

Barbara Williamson, nee Freeman, was born on February 27, 1934 in Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire.

She attended Wyggeston Grammar School and went on to Somerville College, Oxford,.

In October 1959, she married Mr Williamson, a working priest and later Oxford city councillor, and the couple moved to Oxford to start a family.

She became active in St Luke’s Church, in Cowley, where Mr Williamson held regular services. She also became chairman of governors at Peers School in Littlemore where her children were educated.

In 1979 she secured a position with the Careers Service, then known as the University Appointments Committee.

Mrs Williamson became a magistrate at the age of 36, and was the second woman to chair the Bench of Oxford Magistrates.

She had lived in Watlington since 1989 where she took an active role in the local church and charities.

She was a church warden at St Leonard’s for 13 years and was instrumental in establishing the Friends of St Leonard’s and the Christmas tree festival.

She was vice-chairman of Age Concern and devoted much time and energy to the needs of older people in the village.

She also chaired the local Labour Party, which she supported all her life.

After suffering a stroke in September 2011 she was determined to remain as active as possible and in 2012 was honoured by the Diocese of Oxford with the Fellowship of St Birinus for her services to the Church.

Mrs Williamson died on December 4 at her home in Watlington. She is survived by her husband, four children and eight grandchildren. A service celebrating her life will be held at St Leonard’s Church, Watlington, on Monday at noon.