Police divers retrieve the body of James Nolan from a canal in Bydgoszcz yesterday. The body was officially identified by his family last night. Roman Bosiacki/AP

Mayor of Bydgoszcz asks UEFA for minute's silence to remember James Nolan

Rafal Bruski appeals to UEFA, as Irish tricolours are flown throughout the city to mark the death of the 21-year-old.

THE MAYOR of the Polish city has asked UEFA to arrange a minute’s silence in memory of the Irish student who was found in the city yesterday after a three-day search.

Rafal Bruski has asked UEFA president Michel Platini for a minute’s silence to be observed ahead of one of the quarter-finals being held between this evening and Sunday, to mark the death of James Nolan, whose body was found in a river there yesterday.

“It would be a symbolic gesture of respect from all of us, showing that in such moments the great football family is united,” Bruski wrote in aletter to Platini, sent yesterday.

In a separate public declaration, Bruski added:

Let us pay tribute to the Irish – the best supporters of the tournament – and let it be a day of solidarity with those who are the most affected by this untimely death.

An Irish flag is currently flying at half-mast in front of the city hall to mark the tragedy, while a city spokesman told AFP that Irish tricolours would be flown around the city centre where the tragedy occurred.

“This is not entirely consistent with official protocol, but we wanted to express our solidarity with Ireland,” spokesman Piotr Kurek added.

Hundreds of residents of the northwestern Polish city have gathered along the river in an outpouring of sympathy with Nolan’s mourning family.

Flowers, candles and photos of James were adorned with black ribbons on an area beside the river Brda, where his body was discovered yesterday after an intensive three-day  search.

Cafes and restaurants in the city’s central tourist district have decorated their windows with Irish flags, flowers and photos of James adorned with black ribbons.

“We also wanted to adorn our bar, but it’s impossible to buy an Irish flag in Bydgoszcz. I’ve been searching for one everywhere since yesterday,” Szymon Hochenberg, owner of the bar where Nolan spent his last night, told AFP.

Autopsy underway

“The autopsy is underway now and we are doing everything to return the remains to the family as soon as possible, hopefully today,” Bydgoszcz chief prosecutor Leon Bojarski said.

“Everything suggest this was an unfortunate accident, but of course we are checking all possibilities,” he added.

The police found identity documents, a phone and money belonging to Nolan on his body in what appears to have been a drowning.

The student from Blessington, Co Wicklow had travelled to Poland with friends to support the Republic of Ireland team at Euro 2012.

Friends had reported him missing on Sunday afternoon when he failed to return to their hotel after breaking off from the group while on their Saturday night out watching football and drinking at a pub in the city centre.

Security camera footage recorded Nolan leaving the bar, located less than 300 metres from the river, early on Sunday morning.

James’s older brother Andrew, an uncle and two cousins arrived in Bydgoszcz late last night and identified the body.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Body identified as missing James Nolan

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