Nicola Bulley’s friend speaks of ‘racing wait’ after official vigil

Vigil for Nicola Bulley at St Michael's Church in Wyre, Lancashire.

The 45-year-old’s family have been on an emotional rollercoaster since she disappeared two weeks ago (Image: PA)

Nicola Bulley’s close friend said “the unknown is unbearable” two weeks after she disappeared.

Mrs Bulley’s family gathered today at St Michael’s Church on the banks of the River Wyre in Lancashire, just a few hundred yards from where she disappeared two weeks ago.

A photo of Mrs Bulley smiling with her partner Paul Ansell appeared at the altar.

Heather Gibbons, a family friend who attended the vigil, said: “It’s an agonizing wait, it’s almost hell on top of hell because the unknown is unbearable.”

He described how the locals opened the church doors at 10am. to give people a chance to come… collect their thoughts [and]… to be together’.

“It’s not a vigil because we’ve lost hope, but we’re almost trying to create this moment of hope so that everyone can continue to support each other,” he added.

Crowds of friends gathered for another street appeal holding signs pleading to ‘bring Nikki home’.

They are urging people to come forward with more information, while some want police to investigate a nearby “abandoned house”.

PRESTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: People line the streets with placards asking for information about the disappearance of Nicola Bulley in the village of St Michael's on the Wyre on February 10, 2023 in Preston, England.  Police are continuing to search for missing Inskip woman Nicola Bulley, 45, and have widened their search to the Morecambe Bay end of the River Wyre.  Nicola has not been seen since she took her spaniel for a walk by the River Wyre on the morning of Friday January 27.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Friends of Nicola Bulley are appealing for information with missing persons posters (Image: Getty Images)

Nicola Bulley latest What we know so far, last known location, search area Social Cultivation Credit

Officers have information about what Bulley was doing on the morning of the 27th (Image:

A police Search and Rescue team in Knott End-on-Sea, Lancashire, on the south side of Morecambe Bay, as police continue their search for missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, who was last seen two weeks ago in on the morning of Friday January 27 when she was spotted walking her dog on a footpath alongside the nearby River Wyre.  Date of photo: Friday, February 10, 2023. PA Photo.  Check out the PA POLICE Bulley story.  Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Police are searching nearby rivers (Image: PA)

Mrs Bulley, 45, disappeared on January 27 after dropping her two children – aged six and nine – at school and taking their spaniel for a walk.

She was last seen wearing a black coat, black jeans and green ankle boots, with her hair in a ponytail.

A witness said they saw a “clean” red van close to where the mother-of-two disappeared.

Lancashire Police said their current working case is that Ms Bulley fell into the river.

But Mrs Gibbons said the lack of clarity surrounding the 45-year-old’s disappearance had taken a huge toll on her loved ones.

“The family is on the worst rollercoaster ride of their lives, continuing to hope there is a chance we can bring Nikki home safely,” he said.

“They have the same mindset that nothing makes sense. They are just desperately searching for evidence that will determine exactly what has happened.’

On the morning of her disappearance, Mrs Bulley went about her usual routine, dropping her two daughters off at school and taking her springer spaniel Willow for a walk along the river bank.

Her phone – still connected to a call to her job as a mortgage adviser – was found on a bench overlooking the River Wyre, along with the dog running between them.

Since then there has been no sign of her, despite an extensive search of the river and surrounding countryside by police.

They have since changed from the St Michael’s clearing to about 10 miles downstream where the river meets the sea at Morecambe Bay.

An undated family photo issued by Lancashire Police of missing woman Nicola Bulley, 45, who was last seen on the morning of Friday, January 27, when she was spotted walking her dog on a path by the nearby River Wyre.  Mrs Bulley, a mortgage adviser from Inskip, Lancashire, disappeared while walking her dog after dropping her daughters, aged six and nine, off at school.  Her mobile phone and the lead and leash for her springer spaniel dog Willow were found on a bench near the River Wyre in the Lancashire countryside.  Date of issue: Friday, February 3, 2023. PA photo.  Check out the PA POLICE Bulley story.  Photo credit should be: Family Brochure/PA Symbol NOTE TO EDITORS: This brochure photo may be used for editorial reference purposes only for the contemporary depiction of events, things or people in the image or events mentioned in the caption.  Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Police release photos of Bulley (PA)

Police boats have been spotted cruising up and down local waterways.

Lancashire Police believe Ms Bulley fell into the water and are ruling out foul play, although they are still keeping an “open mind” as to what happened.

Members of the public are being asked to come forward with any information that could assist the investigation.

‘[Police] encourage everyone to keep an open mind, word has been that they don’t have their blinders on,” Ms Gibbons added.

“We are optimistic, we keep hoping.”

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