Tributes paid to Somerset vicar who died during service

Tributes have been paid to a Somerset vicar who collapsed and died in front of his congregation.

The Reverend Roger Pittard, 61, was attending Evensong at The Good Shepherd Church in Furnham, Chard, last Sunday when it happened.

The Diocese of Bath and Wells said he was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, but could not be resuscitated.

Colleagues said Father Roger was a warm, outgoing person who would be much missed.

About 30 worshippers were attending the service.

Church treasurer, Gerald McCann, said: "It was a terrible shock. His poor wife was in the congregation.

Heart problems

"He was very well liked, charismatic and very good with people. He had a warm, outgoing personality."

He added that the Rev Pittard had had a history of heart disease, but had seemed fine during the year he had been with the church.

Peter Maurice, the Bishop of Taunton, said: "Roger came to the diocese almost exactly one year ago from ministry in Dorset.

"He was making a significant impact in the parish and the community and will be sorely missed."

The Rev Pittard leaves his wife, Rachel, and two sons, Jonathan and Nicholas.

His funeral is to be held at the church on Tuesday, 24 May at 1100 BST.

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