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‘He was a true Scotsman’: Tributes paid as man who died after being found outside McDonald’s is named

PUBLISHED: 16:48 24 September 2018

Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.

Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.

Archant

A man who died after being found on a bench in Lowestoft town centre was “fit as a fiddle and strong as an ox”, according to friends.

Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.

John Riley, 51, was found outside McDonald’s in London Road North just before 8.30pm on Friday September 21.

He was taken by ambulance to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston but died the following day.

Flowers and messages now cover the bench as news of his passing spread throughout the town and friends and family paid their respects.

Mr Riley was originally from Glasgow and a Celtic shirt bearing his name has now been attached to the bench along with a plaque which reads ‘R.I.P John Riley You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.

His friend Stuart Howells, 53, who was visiting the site to pay tribute, said: “He was a good friend of mine, he was my drinking buddy.

“It’s just sad, I’m losing friends all over the place. He was 51, younger than me, but fit as a fiddle and strong as an ox – a true Scotsman.

“His daughters came down from Glasgow to pay their respects; his children did all that to the bench.”

A pen remains on the bench for well-wishers and mourners to write messages – and it is now almost completely covered with tributes.

Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.Tributes have been paid to 51-year-old John Riley. Photo: James Carr.

Lowestoft’s deputy mayor Peter Knight spoke of the sadness of the death for the town.

He said: “First of all, the man has friends and family and I want to pass on my condolences at this time of loss. It is important to remember those who are left behind at a time of tragedy.

“It’s not shocking it’s just sad, everyone in the town should be able to have a long, healthy and happy life.

He added: “For those people with their own problems I would advise them to reach out and get support.

“We are well-blessed with support in this town, with places like Access Community Trust.

“They provide and awful lot of homeless shelters and are a key starting point for rehabilitation.

“If the problems are solvable there are people out there to help you.”

Police are treating the death as unexplained and are appealing for anyone with information to call 101 and quote incident number 36/59140/18.

For more information on Access Community Trust visit www.accessct.org

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