TRIBUTES have been paid to a “loveable” priest who was found dead at home.

The Church of England in Sussex has been rocked by the death of “cricket-loving” Reverend James Wesson who was found dead at home in Camber at the age of just 55.

Archdeacon of Chichester, the Venerable Douglas McKittrick, said Sussex had lost one of its “best young priests”.

Ceremonies are being held in the coming weeks in churches in Brighton and Winchelsea which he served to mark his passing.

It is understood Mr Wesson was due to take a service last Sunday and Mr McKittrick said Fr Wesson’s death the day before had come as a great shock to all that knew him. .

He said: “He had not been ill, it was a complete shock, it was very sudden.

“He didn’t turn up for church on Sunday morning which set alarm bells ringing.

"He was just one of those loveable people, he was just loved by people.

“He loved life, he was a fantastic cricketer and had a fantastic knowledge of cricket.

“He was just a model person and that’s what you really need for an exceptional parish priest.”

Before entering the church, Fr Wesson had been a teacher at leading boarding school Radley College in Oxfordshire but as a committed Christian he had always felt drawn to be ordained as a priest.

He was first ordained in the Moulsecoomb Parish in Brighton in 2007 and served in the city for five years before moving to Selsey.

Mr McKittrick said that becoming rector in Selsey proved challenging in the isolated parish with its great demand for weddings, baptism and funerals and he stepped down briefly to spend time with his parents in East Sussex.

He returned to the Parish of Winchelsea and was being prepared for a new parish in East Sussex before his untimely death.

Mr McKittrick said: “He was so much looking forward to his new role.

“James Wesson was one of our best young priests.

“He will be greatly missed not just by people connected to the Church but people in the community and people in Sussex who knew him.”

A service of Thanksgiving for the life of Revd James Wesson will be held on Friday April 8 in St Thomas church in Winchelsea from 2.30pm while a Requiem in his memory will be held next Thursday at Holy Nativity Church in Norwich Drive, Bevendean, Brighton.

Mr Wesson was found dead at his home in Camber at 7.30pm on Saturday, March 19 and a Sussex Police spokesman said his death is not being treated as suspicious.