Funeral of James Nolan (21) held

 

Close to 1,000 mourners turned out this morning in bright sunshine for the funeral of Irish fan James Nolan who died while supporting Ireland at the European Championships in Poland.

The huge crowd, which included Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given and FAI chief executive John Delaney, heard a series of tributes to Mr Nolan (21) whose body was recovered from the River Brdaz in Bydgoszcz last Wednesday.

His sister Suzie Nolan said her brother had been ?one in a million?. He never did much forward thinking but lived every day ?with absolute contentment?.

His happiness came from the certainty that he was ?absolutely loved? by his family, she said, adding that they were searching for a meaning in his tragic death.

During the recession a lot of Irish people had been reduced to despair and depression, she said, but everybody could reflect on how James had lived his life.

?He lived and he loved and that him so happy. If one person leaves her and just tries to live and to love, maybe that is why James was chosen,? she said.

The mourners were led by Mr Nolan's parents Jimmy and Essie, his sister and also by his brother Andy.

The crowd spilled out into the streets outside the Church of Our Lady in Blessington, Co Wicklow, for this morning?s funeral mass.

Several tributes were paid to Mr Nolan including one from the Mayor of Bydgoszcz Rafal Bruski.

The Polish ambassador to Ireland Martin Nawrot was also in attendance.

Local parish priest Fr Tim Murphy praised the gesture of Irish captain Robbie Keane who wore a t-shirt with the words ?James Nolan R.I.P? which he revealed after scoring for his club LA Galaxy at the week.

Fr Murphy said Keane?s gesture showed the bond between the team and its supporters. ?We are a people who showed something really good to the world,? he said. ?We have a spirit that personified in a young man like James. That is the spirit that will change this country.?

Mr Nolan?s coffin was led out of the church to a chorus of The Fields of Athenry .

Members of the local Blessington soccer club formed a guard of honour as Mr Nolan?s body was brought to Burgage Cemetery for burial afterwards.

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