Tearful Malachi Cush walks back onto stage on crutches for his first show since car accident
Warm applause greeted Co Tyrone singer Malachi Cush last night as he made his first public appearance - on crutches - since being hit by a runaway car two months ago.
The Donaghmore performer was emotional as he appeared at Clonard Monastery as part of the annual Feile an Phobail festival.
He joined Londonderry singer-songwriter Phil Coulter, who was headlining this year's live concert in west Belfast.
The pair performed several songs together before a crowd of 700 people who had packed into the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer for the sold-out event.
"It's good to be back and no better man than Phil Coulter to be in the company of, and in no better venue," a tearful Mr Cush told the crowd last night, which included his wife Claire.
The popular singer and businessman Andrew Trotter were hurt after a car careered down Scotch Street in Dungannon, mounted the pavement and hit them on June 3.
Mr Cush had been buying gardening equipment in SA Trotter's family hardware store shortly after 10.30am when a Volvo car came down the hill and crashed into both men as they stood at the boot of Mr Cush's vehicle.
Mr Trotter suffered injuries to his head, shoulder and elbow, while Mr Cush sustained injuries to his lower legs and head.
Lying on the pavement surrounded by paramedics, Mr Cush said previously he thought he was going to die.
He was transported to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast where he was assessed as having injuries to his leg and head, including lacerations, and had teeth knocked out. Initially doctors were worried he may have had internal injuries.
The singer has said his faith helped him pull through and he believes the power of prayer from others aided in his recovery, including support from those at Clonard Monastery just beside the Royal Victoria Hospital. Mr Cush last night took the opportunity to thank local people for their prayers and support.
He said: "For the few weeks that I was next door in the Royal, I got a real sense of the great community that envelopes this beautiful place of sanctuary.
"When I was getting wheeled down for scans, a porter asked me if I wanted him to light a candle for me at Clonard.
"Along with the doctors and nurses, this community really helped me so much and I want to thank you all for that," he added.
Mr Cush, who rose to prominence on the BBC talent show Fame Academy, spent a total of three weeks in the Royal and Musgrave Park hospitals.
Doctors have told Mr Cush it will be 12 months before his leg is fully healed and functional while it will also require several surgeries.