Belfast Telegraph

Family hit by lightning left terrified in their own home as night of storms forecast

By Stephanie Bell

The Lisburn family struck by lightning in a horrific freak accident last month spent last night shaking with fear as storm warnings were issued for Northern Ireland.

An insight into the terrible trauma they suffered was revealed when Met Office warnings of more lightning left them terrified in their own home.

George Allen (37), from the Ballymacash area, was left fighting for his life and his two young children, Geordie (5) and Georgha (7), were seriously hurt when they were struck during a storm outside Killowen Primary School.

As the Met Office yesterday predicted that thunder storms with lightning would hit Northern Ireland last night, Mr Allen's distraught wife Sharon used Facebook to urge people to be careful, and revealed she was so frightened that she had spent the day shaking.

Sharon also expressed concern for her children who, she said, had been terrified by the noise of fireworks on the Eleventh Night.

Posting the storm warning on her Facebook page, she said: "I'm sitting here in bits. Kids were so scared when they heard the fireworks from the bonfire from their rooms... when they hear this lightning omg my heart is breaking and it hasn't even come yet." As friends urged her to keep calm, to close the blinds and keep her children close, she replied: "I just want to pack up and run." In response to another friend's post, she added: "Swear I'm shaking... :-( Geordie and me always sat and watched it... never again, even the thought of it now."

The weather warning was issued by the Met Office on Monday morning for the period from 5pm last night until 6pm tonight.

It said that some places could see around 30mm of rainfall in an hour, adding "Frequent lightning, large hail and strong winds could be additional hazards."

Friends last night urged Sharon to try and remain calm.

Mr Allen and the children suffered a horrific ordeal when they were caught in a storm outside the children's school early last month.

Teachers rushed to the scene to help, using a defibrillator while awaiting the arrival of the emergency services.

Fighting for his life, George was rushed to Lagan Valley Hospital and later transferred to the Ulster Hospital. It is understood he suffered organ failure.

Five-year-old Geordie had to have his heart restarted at the scene, and both children spent a few days in hospital being treated for burns.

Just last week Sharon, who has six children aged from five to 17, said little Geordie was recovering after undergoing a minor operation in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, and her husband was making good progress.

On her Facebook page, Sharon spoke of the "nightmare" last few weeks but said her husband, a self-employed recycling processor, is now more stable.

She posted: "Wee Georgha doing so well, she's been my top helper and has given me so much strength.

"Thank you so much for everyone's pms (personal messages) and texts over this past month.

"Big Geordie doing better now, is a lot more stable and off all big machines, which is amazing.

"But it's still small steps for Geordie and will be a very long road for him.

"But everyone knows my Geordie, knows he can do it... xxx."

After the incident, the community in Ballymacash started a fundraising campaign to support the family while George remains in hospital. Mrs Allen said she was overwhelmed by the support from the community.

"I'm from Ballymacash like my Geordie and I always knew Ballymacash could pull together, but never in a million years have I felt such support and love like that shown for my family," she added.

"I read everyone's comments to him to show him just how much he's loved."

Belfast Telegraph


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