RESPECTED District Judge for Bournemouth County Court and Southampton County Court, Dudley Edwards, has died at the age of 83.

Having pleurisy in his early teens didn't deter Dudley from missing out on an education, he then more or less taught himself. After passing his 'O' levels he commenced articles as a trainee solicitor with Marshal Harvey and Dalton solicitors in Bournemouth and was admitted as a solicitor in 1958 aged 23.

For the next couple of years he was an assistant solicitor with Buchanan and Llewellyn before joining Mooring Aldridge Brownlee solicitors in Bournemouth in 1961 where he specialised in family work and was very much in demand. Four years later he became a partner in the firm.

In 1977 Dudley was appointed a Deputy County Court Registrar sitting part time several days a month as a judge in civil and family matters in County Courts in the Bournemouth area as well as continuing to work for Mooring Aldridge and Brownlee full time.

In 1981 he was appointed a full time County Court Registrar to the Southampton County Court.

County Court Registrars were given a new title of District Judge in 1990 so his title became District Judge Dudley Edwards. He split his work as District Judge between Southampton County Court and Bournemouth County Court, doing two weeks at each every month. After a couple of years he moved to sit full time at Bournemouth before retiring in 2002 aged 67.

Following his retirement he sat as a Deputy District Judge in various county courts for a couple of years.

Dudley met his wife Ruth in the early 1960s at Mooring Aldridge Brownlee where she was his secretary and they married in 1970. They later adopted their daughter Caroline from Romania.

Dudley was well travelled and a keen photographer as well as an avid reader and historian especially for military history. He also had a sense of humour and always had a smile on his face.

"Dudley will be remembered by all as a kind, considerate and conscientious judge, always making everyone feel at ease, and that they had been listened to, whilst remaining ultimately clear and firm about the outcome of any case - a true gentleman and scholar," said a tribute at his service.

"He was someone we have been proud to have known and someone who during his lifetime set an example to us all," said another tribute.

Dudley died on January 17 and his thanksgiving service was held at Christ Church, Alumhurst Road, Westbourne on February 2.