Mum tells of lightning strike aftermath

George Allen.
George Allen.

A Lisburn mum has told how her seriously hurt stepdaughter lay awake and aware next to her father and brother during attempts to restart their hearts after a lightning strike.

Sharon Allen’s husband George (Geordie) was struck by lightning as he picked up his children from Killowen Primary School last Tuesday afternoon (June 7).

Mr Allen (37), his five-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter were all seriously injured.

“Both my son and husband’s heart had stopped at the school,” said Sharon in a message to the Star, “but my son’s was restarted at the scene, while my stepdaughter lay beside them, awake and aware of what happened her baby brother and daddy.”

The youngsters were treated at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, the boy initially in critical condition, his sister seriously ill, but both were discharged in recent days.

Mr Allen was admitted to the Ulster Hospital, where, at time of going to press, he remained in critical condition in intensive care.

“My husband is still very, very ill,” wrote Sharon, who described the Ballymacash man as “a very hands-on father” who would do anything for his children. “There wasn’t a day he didn’t take them to school,” she said.

Mrs Allen dismissed any suggestion that her husband’s mobile phone might have played a part in the lightning strike.

“This was nothing to do with his mobile phone,” she wrote. “The doctors have said his phone was in his pocket.”

People all over the world have been sending Mrs Allen messages of support and nowhere has that support been more evident than closest to home.

“People from Lisburn/Ballymacash, even around the world, have shown me such love and support and prayers.” she said.

A fund set up online to support the family had raised more than £1,500 within just five hours and went on to outstrip its initial £2,000 target.

The Rev Ken Gamble from St Mark’s Church in Ballymacash recently visited the family at the Ulster Hospital, assuring them of everyone’s thoughts and prayers, while Roger Thompson, one of Killowen Primary’s governors, told the BBC there was a sense of “emptiness” at the school.