TRIBUTES have been paid to a respected reverend, John Cook, who has died aged 72.

Reverend John Cook who served St John’s Church in Workington for 27 years, has been remembered as a down to Earth man who was a “faithful priest”, loved by his congregation.

Archdeacon of west Cumbria, Richard Pratt said: “John was a wonderful and faithful priest. He was prayerful and a very good preacher.

“A really fine and faithful priest. A very humble man as well.

The archdeacon said: “I had enormous respect and admiration for John. Our feelings go out to Jan, his wife and the family.”

He lived at Seaton with his wife Jan, moving there from the St John’s Church vicarage in Thorncroft Gardens.

Mr Cook was born in Beckenham, Kent and trained as a teacher after first leaving school. He taught PE, RE and history but always wanted to be vicar.

His wife Jan said: "He wanted to be a priest and a clergyman from a young age but he wanted to see some of the world first."

Mr Cook came to St John’s Church in 1987 and stepped down as vicar in 2014.

When he retired at age 66, Mr Cook told the Times and Star that he was marrying people who he had baptised.

Jan added that he was "privileged" to conduct the wedding service for his son Nick in 2013.

Mr Cook will be remembered by the football community in Workington as he served as chaplain for Workington Reds and coach of JJ's, a Sunday league football club. He was also a devoted follower of Crystal Palace Football Club and the England cricket team.

Jan said that the couple enjoyed travelling including three trips to India. She said: "We tried to live life to the full."

Mr Cook worked as a guide at Wordsworth House in retirement. Jan said: "He just liked talking to people and it did him a lot of good."

Friend Margaret Younghusband said: “We had a lovely day out at the Reds match on boxing day, he did enjoy it.”