Tributes have been paid following the death of a 23-year-old rugby player whose body was found in a village play area.

Nathan Gooney was pronounced dead in the grounds of Thurton village hall on April 5.

His inquest opened on Thursday at Norfolk Coroner’s Court, where Yvonne Blake, the area coroner, gave the medical cause of death as hanging.

The hearing was also told that Mr Gooney, who lived nearby on Ashby Road, Thurton, worked as a bricklayer.

He also played rugby for Beccles Rugby Club, which has paid tribute to him with a statement on its Facebook page.

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Nathan Gooney (right) played for Beccles Rugby Club -pictured with a teammateNathan Gooney (right) played for Beccles Rugby Club -pictured with a teammate (Image: Beccles Rugby Club)

It reads: "On Friday, we lost not only a teammate but a brother!

"Nathan was a friend to all and always the biggest character in the room and will be truly missed by all who knew him."

It adds: "Our condolences and thoughts are with Gooney’s family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in Peace, Nathan Gooney."

The club held a minute's silence in his honour before last weekend's game against Norwich II.Beccles & Bungay Journal: Nathan Gooney died on April 5, 2024Nathan Gooney died on April 5, 2024 (Image: Facebook)

Friends of Mr Gooney have widely shared the Facebook post with many paying their own tributes.

READ MORE: Norfolk Coroner's Court

The full inquest to determine the official cause of death is currently scheduled to take place on September 24 at Norfolk Coroners Court.

  • Do you need support? Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123. The NHS First Response Service can be reached on 111 selecting option 2.   
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  • To read all obituaries and tributes join the Facebook group Norfolk's Loved & Lost.