Northern Ireland school formal off as car crash teen fights for life
A Co Down school has cancelled its sixth-year formal as one of its students continues to fight for her life alongside a friend after they were injured in a single-vehicle crash on Sunday.
Yasmin Gordon (18) and 19-year-old Brooke Jackson remain critically ill in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.
Brooke, a former pupil of Priory Integrated College who is believed to have been driving the Fiat Punto that struck a tree on the Ballycrochan Road in Bangor at around 3.30am, is still in a coma.
Two other teenagers in the car, one of whom was gymnast Emilee Carr - who represented Northern Ireland at the Acrobatic British Championship heats in May - have been discharged from hospital.
Bangor Academy student Yasmin is understood to have suffered life-changing injuries.
The athletics prize winner is one of two students from the school who were injured.
Ards FC Under-20s forward Alex McIlmail (18) paid tribute to the teenager on social media as he urged her to keep fighting.
"Hope this all is a real eye opener for people, because it certainly is for me," he wrote.
"Yasmin is a fighter and will do her very best to fight through this... not only a fighter, but a caring, loving, gorgeous girlfriend, sister, daughter, grand-daughter, niece and of course best friend, who is loved very much by friends and family and also myself."
Alex also encouraged everyone to keep praying for Yasmin and the other girls involved.
Bangor Academy principal Matthew Pitts said all four girls and their families were in his thoughts and prayers.
"This is a difficult time and we are offering support to anyone affected," he said.
Mr Pitts also confirmed that the Year 14 formal, which was due to take place next week, had been cancelled.
Also last night, Brooke's cousin shared a message from her devastated father.
"Thank you all for your kind words and support. It's been truly overwhelming," he said.
He confirmed her condition had not changed and that the full extent of her injuries was not yet known.
"We are all just waiting, hoping and praying," he added.
One friend urged her dad to "keep talking" to his daughter and play her favourite music.
"She can hear you, honestly," they said.
On Monday, the teenager's heartbroken cousin begged Brooke to open her eyes.
"Love you so much girl, please wake up," she posted on social media.
Priory Integrated College is providing emotional support to past and present pupils who know the girls.