North West 200 crash mum Violet McAfee: 'Being hit by a bike hasn't put me off. I'll be back next year'
The woman almost killed by a motorcycle that hit her during the North West 200 races has dismissed fears over the dangers of the event and vowed to return next year.
Mother-of-one Violet McAfee suffered serious head and leg injuries when she was struck in the three-bike accident.
The Ballybogey woman was standing with family members in a friend's front garden at Station Road in Portstewart on a fast part of the course when the crash happened.
The racing fanatic said it would be "unfair" to use her as an example of the dangers spectators faced, adding that it was a "freak accident".
She praised organisers of the world-famous meeting, saying they had made it as safe as possible
She hopes to return home to her family this week as she begins her long road to recovery.
But the upbeat civil servant admits she is lucky to be alive.
"It's a miracle, people didn't expect me to live," she said.
"I am extremely lucky and I have a brilliant family who are all very much behind me."
When asked about the dangers of the North West 200, she said: "Anyone could cross the road today and get killed.
"Everything happens for a reason. The North West is a terrific event and I won't stop going to it. There will be people who don't see the fun side of the race and don't like it. As for me, what happened, happened and it won't change how I feel about it."
After the accident she was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she spent three days in intensive care.
Despite fighting for her life just eight days ago, the positive mum has made a remarkable recovery and is confident that she will be up and walking again in a matter of months.
She said her last memory of the event was waiting for the riders to pass on their warm-up lap for the last race.
"They were doing warm-up laps so I thought I would stand out and watch them.
"I remember enjoying the whole thing, but I don't remember anything after that.
"I don't remember anything about the helicopter either, but maybe that isn't a bad thing.
"The first thing I remember is waking up in hospital, but I didn't really know where I was or what had happened to me, or how bad the injury on my leg was until my family members told me.
"When I saw the pictures I couldn't believe it.
"It was awful to feel that way, because it was such a freaky thing to have happened.
"My recovery really has been remarkable. I could think of what could have happened or I could think, well, this is what I am going to do now.
"I'm going to get my rehab done and I will be there again next year with my family."
The North West is the biggest single sporting event on the island of Ireland and regularly attracts upwards of 250,000 spectators who flock to the scenic circuit.