North West 200 smash biker is able to stand up at last
The survivor of a North West 200 horror crash has been able to stand up for the first time since the accident.
Racer Stephen Thompson (39) from Crumlin was left critically ill last month after three bikes collided. A spectator was also badly injured.
He was initially rushed to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine with another rider, Horst Saiger.
Stephen was later transferred to the Royal Victoria in Belfast for specialist treatment. A third rider, Dean Harrison, was unhurt.
It emerged last night that Stephen has been able to stand up for the first time since the crash.
A spokesman for the North West 200 said Stephen had been making progress despite his severe injuries.
"Stephen remains in the Royal Victoria Hospital where he continues to receive treatment," he said.
"He has had a few setbacks over the last few weeks, including finding out last Monday that his right hand had also been broken, resulting in an operation to have that pinned.
"Today he managed, with the aid of his physiotherapist, to stand for the first time since then. We continue to wish him well for a speedy recovery."
A fundraising campaign to help pay for his rehabilitation has so far raised over £6,000.
Stephen's partner Charlotte has thanked all his supporters.
"Thank you to everyone again for your continued support, we as a family can't thank you enough," she said.
The spectator who was injured in the same crash is also on the road to recovery.
Violet McAfee said she is looking forward to walking again.
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.
She was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital, and spent three days in intensive care.
The racing fanatic said it would be "unfair" to use her as an example of dangers to spectators, saying it was a "freak accident".
"I'm going to get my rehab done, I'm going to get up, I'm going to get walking and I'll be there next year again probably.
"I would say I probably will be with the rest of my family as well," she said.
She said her last memory is of waiting for riders to pass on their warm-up lap.
"Even being shown the photographs of where the bike had landed and where another bike had landed out on the road, I don't remember one thing about it," she said.
"I don't remember being picked up in the helicopter to come to the RVH or anything. There's nothing I remember, which isn't a bad thing."