A long-serving magistrate in south Norfolk, Margaret Young, has died peacefully aged 89.

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She retired after 22 years’ service having been appointed Justice of the Peace in 1961 on the former Earsham Bench. Mrs Young decided to stand down when was 60 in order to allow a younger person to take her place.

She had been chairman of Earsham magistrates until reorganisation in 1974 when the Diss and Earsham Benches were amalgamated. For the next seven years, she was a deputy chairman. She was also deputy chairman on the combined juvenile panel sitting at Thetford.

Born in Pulham Market, Margaret Todd became a registered nurse before she married. Some 71 years later, she returned to live in the hall bought by her father in 1916.

She was a driving force in local branches of the Conservative Party at Thorpe Abbots, where she lived for many years, before returning to Pulham. A supporter of farming’s charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, she served on the Norfolk committee and used to visit many beneficiaries.

She was one of a handful of founders of the county’s annual cocktail party, held on the eve of the Royal Norfolk Show, and raised tens of thousands over the following years. When it was first held in the early 1980s, her husband, Homer, served a powerful punch made to his distinctive recipe.

As the president’s steward, she was responsible for handling grandstand seating arrangements during the 1986 visit by the Queen to the Royal Norfolk Show. The Royal Norfolk Agri- cultural Association’s patron, and president that year, was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

She was also a vice-president of Harleston Magpies Hockey Club and a life member of Diss RFC.

After the family took over the Park Hotel, Diss, in the 1960s, it was trans-formed by her quiet authority into a thriving success as a ballroom exten-sion was added. Later, it was sold.

Her husband, Homer, died in 1989. She leaves three sons, Robert, Peter and John and six grandchildren.

A funeral service took place at Pulham Market Church, on Friday, August 3. Michael Pollitt

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