Tributes have been paid to a “much-loved” and “popular” priest.

Canon Richard Meyer of St Mary and St Catherine’s Church in Bridport died on June 13 after a short illness.

Canon Richard was born in Bath in April 1944 and went to Monkton Coombe School and St John’s College, University of Durham.

He married his wife Jan in 1965, who died in 2014, and taught at King’s School, Gloucester, from 1966 to 1971 before training for the priesthood at Mirfield College.

A significant change came in his life when he was received into the Catholic Church in 1994. He left the Anglican ministry and became a teacher at St Mary’s School, Ascot, then later Leweston School until 2002.

He was then ordained a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Plymouth and was appointed Chaplain of Leweston School from 2002 to 2010, when he came to Bridport.

He was made Honorary Canon of Plymouth Cathedral in 2017.

Pat McEvoy, a parishioner at Bridport Catholic Church, said: “In October 2010 he came with Jan to Bridport parish as our priest. He quickly became a very popular pastor and the Catholic churches in Bridport, Chideock and Beaminster flourished under his guidance.

“It was a novel experience for us to have a married priest with a family and the parishioners were more than delighted to welcome the Meyers.

“Fr Richard gave us witty, erudite sermons and we always sat up and listened when he was on his feet. In pastoral matters, he was always available to listen and discuss problems and constantly showed great empathy. He was active and interested in all parish affairs and worked tirelessly.

“He will be very missed by all.”

His life was celebrated in two parts, with a Requiem Mass held at both St Mary and St Catherine’s Church in Bridport and Sherborne Abbey.

Friends, family, parishioners and pupils and staff from St Catherine’s Primary School attended the church in Victoria Grove to remember the much-loved pastor.

Canon Richard was known for wearing red socks, so as a tribute to him, school children wore red socks and members of the congregation came wearing something red.

The school children had also made a book of memorable things he had said or done, as well as a wreath of prayers.

The second Requiem mass at Sherborne Abbey was attended by around 500 people, including students from Leweston School, and a coach was put on for those from Bridport wanting to attend.

After the mass, a private burial was held in Milborne Port.

The Reverend Philip Ringer, chairman of Churches Together in Bridport and District (CTIBD), said: “I have known Father Richard for a good number of years, even before he was appointed to Bridport.

“He was a very supportive clergy colleague and his membership of CTIBD will be greatly missed. He always brought wisdom and insight to our meetings, coupled with a great sense of humour.

“He will be sorely missed, and the thoughts and prayers of our members go out to all who knew him, especially our Christian sisters and brothers at the Catholic Church here in Bridport.”