Tributes have been paid to the former vicar of a St Albans church “who will be remembered with affection” after he was hit by a train at Harpenden station.

Rev David Brentnall, 59, who was a vicar at St Peter’s Church for 12 years, was killed by the train travelling from Corby to London St Pancras on Monday of last week.

Mr Brentnall stepped down from his role at the church in St Peters Street in February 2009, citing personal reasons.

The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith, paid tribute to Mr Brentnall.

He said: “I am very sad to hear of the sudden and tragic death of the Rev David Brentnall.

“Although he had not been active as a priest in recent years, he is still remembered with affection by many people in St Albans and Harpenden, not least for his charitable work.”

Rev Anne Hollinghurst, the vicar of St Peter’s church, said: “It has been a number of years since the Rev David Brentnall resigned from St Peter’s for personal reasons, but for those who remember him, the news of his sudden death has been a shock and prayers were said in church yesterday.

“Some people have reflected to me how they especially appreciated his warmth and the support he had shown them at difficult times in their own lives. I also know that he is remembered as a witty and entertaining preacher.”

At the time of his resignation, the church’s newsletter spoke of his rare gift to delivery inspiring, witty and concise sermons, while having an inclusiveness quick humour that relaxed everyone.

Mr Brentnall was also a vital figure within the charity, Community Meeting Point Harpenden (CMP) from July 2009 up until he died.

After being promoted as the manager of CMP in 2011, Mr Brentnall played a major part in setting up a new hub and charity shop in Harding Parade, Station Road, for more than two years.

David Bogle, chief executive of Hightown Praetorian and Churches Housing Association, said “David was manager of Community Meeting Point Harpenden for over two years, and he played a major part in getting the new hub and charity shop up and running so successfully after CMP moved back to Harpenden in 2011.

“David was a very popular figure who devoted long hours to CMP and masterminded the many fundraising activities that CMP undertook. He will be greatly missed.”

The British Transport Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary were called to Harpenden railway station at approximately 3.20pm on Monday of last week.

Mr Brentnall’s death is not being treated as suspicious and an inquest will be opened.