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Nicola Bulley’s partner has revealed the couple had plans to marry and for their daughters to act as bridesmaids. Paul Ansell said they had frequently talked about getting married, but put their plans on hold because of the pandemic.
Mr Ansell told Channel 5 he still hopes to tie the knot with Ms Bulley, who vanished while walking her dog, Willow, along the River Wyre near the village of St Michael’s on Wyre in Lancashire on January 27.
He told presenter Dan Walker: “We talked about it again seriously at the beginning of 2020. And that was when we really started to actually look at getting something sort of in the calendar.
“And then obviously the whole Covid thing hit which just, I mean, everybody’s life was just thrown up into the air.”
He added that he now hopes for Ms Bulley’s return and that they can restart planning their wedding.
Mr Ansell said he wants to keep “all options open” about her disappearance.
He said: “We’ve always been very careful that we don’t want to say, ‘Oh, we think it’s that’, and then push that when it might not be.
“The most obvious thing, of course has always been the river. It’s always been my gut instinct and her sister’s, and family that, that isn’t the case.
“Extensive searching, as you know… has gone on in that river.”
READ ABOUT NICOLA BULLEY’S GIRLS NEEDING THEIR MUMMY
A mortgage adviser, Ms Bulley, 45, had dropped off her daughters, aged six and nine, at school and was on her usual walk when she disappeared.
Her phone, which was still connected to a work call, was found on a bench overlooking the river.
Despite a huge search of the Wyre and surrounding countryside by Lancashire Police, no trace of her has been found.
Police have ruled out foul play and are treating the incident as a missing person inquiry, believing Ms Bulley fell into the water.
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But police say they are still keeping an “open mind” and have been appealing for information.
Focus of the police search this week switched from St Michael’s to about 10 miles downstream where the river empties into the sea at Morecambe Bay.
Mr Ansell said the family was going through “unprecedented hell”.
He said: “But that hope and that positivity in me is stronger than ever, and I’m never, ever going to let go.
“Nikki would never give up on us ever. She wouldn’t give up on anybody. And we’re not going to ever give up on her, we’re going to find her.”
Talking about his children, Mr Ansell continued: “The only thing, the only thing that I can do is tell them that everybody is looking for mummy.
“The best people in the world are looking for mummy – just to give them that, you know, that level of hope that they can understand that everything that can be done to find mummy, is being done.”
Asked how he feels about the situation, Mr Ansell added: “Anger, loads of frustration, confusion, disbelief, surrealism, nothing feels real.”
He continued “It just doesn’t feel real… I feel like I’m in The Truman Show. I honestly believe I’m going to wake up at any moment… How are we even in this? We are good people.”
Speaking about his partner, Mr Ansell said: “She is fun. She is loving. If you’re friends with her, she’s the most loyal friend that you could ever have.
“With Nikki, what you see is what you get. There’s no hidden, nothing’s hidden.
“You know, it’s all. That’s, that’s her. And she is an exceptional mum and she absolutely adores our girls. And goes above and beyond.”
Anyone with information which could assist the police investigation should call 101 quoting log 0565 of January 30. For immediate sightings please call 999.
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