Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland football legend Gerry and daughter in lucky escape after car crash

Gerry Armstrong with his wife Debbie and daughter Marianna
Gerry Armstrong with his wife Debbie and daughter Marianna

By Stephanie Bell

Northern Ireland soccer legend Gerry Armstrong and his youngest daughter Marianna have had a lucky escape after a car crash.

The 65-year-old was returning home after picking 13-year-old Marianna up from drama class in Holywood, Co Down, when the accident occurred on Saturday.

Their car was in collision with a van as it attempted to turn right on the main Bangor dual carriageway.

Both father and daughter have suffered severe pain from the injuries they sustained when their car spun and hit a lamp post.

Marianna struck her head during the collision, which caused so much damage to the car it has had to be written off.

Gerry's wife Debbie called for action to be taken at the dangerous junction between Croft Road and the dual carriageway in Holywood which locals claim is the scene of up to three accidents every week.

Debbie recalled how she was putting the family Christmas tree up around 5pm on Saturday when she got a bad feeling.

She said: "It was horrendous and it also has been my biggest fear ever since my sister lost her husband in a car accident and I had to break the news to her.

"That junction is just five minutes from our house and I have always hated it. I usually pick Marianna up from drama school but I stayed at home on Saturday because I was waiting for my sister.

"I was putting the Christmas tree up to try and bring a little cheer when I just got this terrible feeling that something had happened. I phoned Gerry and he told me he was with the police and that they had been in an accident.

"He didn't tell me how bad it was and I jumped into the car and drove there immediately. When I saw the car was a complete write off it was such a shock."

Although both Gerry and Marianna have suffered considerable pain, Debbie is grateful that they were able to walk away from the accident. She added: "Marianna hit her head quite badly and Gerry has wrecked his neck and hurt his back, which is all twisted to one side.

"Marianna was in total shock and it was only when I went to take her to the doctors the next day that she burst into tears and was too frightened to get into the car.

"I just thank my lucky stars they are okay. It could have been so much worse."

Debbie called for action to make the junction safer for motorists.

The right turn from the busy dual carriageway at Holywood into Croft Road is hazardous because there is no filter light.

Debbie added: "Marianna is not too bad but is sore down her left side and so is Gerry."

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Shortly before 5pm on Saturday, November 9 police received a report of a two vehicle damage-only road traffic collision on Bangor Road at its junction with Croft Road, Holywood."

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