A vicar has said the local community is “in shock” over the disappearance of Nicola Bulley, but “hope is what is keeping everyone going” as the search to find her continues.
People have gathered at St Michael’s Church in Lancashire on Sunday to light candles for the mother-of-two as her family, friends, and search teams carry on looking for her.
Reverend Andrew Wilkinson told Sky News that much of the younger community was at the church, as well as family and friends of Ms Bulley.
‘They are just a lovely family’
The vicar said Ms Bulley’s family “want to try and keep as good a profile as possible”.
“It encourages us all in our searching and all the endeavours that we do here. They are just a lovely family,” he said.
Rev Wilkinson added that the family “thoroughly enjoy the level of support” they have been receiving.
“And it is remarkable actually what is being achieved here and the profile that it has,” he said.
“They still are looking for and hoping for that good news.”
Officers believe Ms Bulley, 45, fell into the River Wyre while she was walking her dog.
But her family and friends have claimed there is “no evidence whatsoever” behind the police’s theory.
Police speak to ‘key witness’
Earlier, police said they had spoken to a “key witness” who was seen pushing a pram on Friday 27 January, when Ms Bulley went missing.
This is the last confirmed sighting of her.
At 9.20am, police believe her phone was left on a bench by the river.
At 9.30am, the work conference call ended but she stayed connected – before her phone was found three minutes later on the bench by another dog walker.
‘Too soon for condolences’
Friends and family told Sky News correspondent Katerina Vittozzi it was “too soon for condolences”, and say they are not ready to accept the police’s theory that Ms Bulley fell into the river.
They have now set up a community search hub at the village tennis club, where people are invited to take a map of the local area and try to help.
Nicola’s girls are ‘really missing her’, friend reveals
Specialists and divers from HM Coastguard, mountain rescue and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have been deployed to assist the search, in addition to sniffer dogs, drones, and police helicopters.
A team of detectives has been working to analyse telephone communication, house to house enquiries, CCTV, dashcam footage and other digital enquiries, police said.