He almost died in bike crash...but now John Anderton's set to walk down aisle
Published 28/07/2011 | 08:00
A motorcycle road racer who was given a 3% chance of survival and feared he may never walk again is to proudly stride down the aisle today.
John Anderton (31) from Antrim spent weeks in an induced coma having suffered a serious brain injury during a high-speed crash at a North West 200 practice session two years ago.
The horrific accident happened as he exited Station Corner heading towards Black's Bridge during the final 600cc qualifier. He clipped the kerb, hit the grass and shot over to the other side of the track before ploughing into a group of trees.
His right leg was also totally shattered - he broke his femur, knee cap, tibula, fibula, ankle, foot and big toe in the horrific smash.
To help his leg heal, a cage had to be attached and screws fitted to his joints. Metal rods also run down his leg and he has two plates in his right foot.
Following his release from hospital, doctors cited John's recovery as nothing short of "miraculous".
Having had such a close brush with death, John (right) realised what was important in life and proposed to his girlfriend of three years, Shona Copeland, as soon as he got out of hospital.
"John asked me to marry him the day he got out of Musgrave Park Hospital - July 28, 2009 - and we set the date for exactly two years' time," Shona told the Belfast Telegraph.
"To be honest I never thought we would see this day. I never thought it would happen.
"At the time of the accident it was just horrible and few people expected him to survive.
"But he has been very determined all the way through his recovery."
The couple, who have a young daughter Megan, are to be married at St Comgall's Church in Antrim at 1pm this afternoon with a reception at the Hilton in Templepatrick.
However, the newly weds will not be jetting off to the Thai island of Ko Samui for their honeymoon until next month.
Shona added: "John is very determined and set himself goals all along.
"One of them was to be able to walk down the aisle in two years.
"We are all completely over the moon.
"At the rehearsal he was very nervous and a bit teary - he has got more emotional since the accident.
"I expect the speeches will be emotional as well.
"It's just amazing to look back and to be able to say 'we did it'."