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Terrifying moment George Allen and his children were struck by lightning as he collected them from school - dad and son Geordie left fighting for their lives

Community traumatised as Lisburn man and his five-year-old boy are left fighting for their lives in hospital after being hit metres from car

By Laura Abernethy, Cate McCurry and Allan Preston

Eyewitnesses have described the terrifying moment a father and his children were struck by lightning as he collected them from school.

Lisburn man George Allen (37), was last night fighting for his life after the freak incident. His five-year-old son, Geordie, and seven-year-old daughter, Georgia, are now in a stable condition.

The Belfast Trust issued an update on their conditions on Wednesday evening.

Mr Allen was collecting his children from Killowen Primary School in Lisburn at around 2.30pm when he was hit by a bolt of lightning just metres from their family car as he walked across a car park.

Teachers from the school rushed to help and the vice principal, Mr Mulligan, who is trained in first aid, treated the family using a defibrillator as they waited for the emergency services to arrive.

Mr Allen was taken to nearby Lagan Valley Hospital then transferred to the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, where he was last night in a critical condition.

His children were taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast.

The community have set up a fundraising page to "help with bills and every day costs during this difficult time".

More than £2,400 has been raised for the family.

Pupils who had earlier been enjoying their annual sports day were evacuated from the car park and taken to neighbouring Laurelhill Community College to keep them away from the traumatic scene.

Parents were told there had been an accident and that children should be collected immediately.

Richard Bradley, who arrived at the school just moments after the ambulance, described how the storm continued to rage overhead as paramedics treated Mr Allen and his children.

He said: "I arrived just after the emergency services. I was delivering the race packs for the half-marathon next week.

"I could see the storm overhead and there was very, very heavy rain. There were huge flashes of lightning. It was really very frightening."

One witness said he believed Mr Allen was on his mobile phone at the time he was struck by lightning.

Paul Givan, DUP MLA for Lagan Valley, and DUP councillor Jonathan Craig met with staff at the school last night. Mr Givan said that Mr Allen, his children and his wife Sharon lived locally and were well-known in the Ballymacash area.

"This has had a massive impact on the local community," Mr Givan added.

"There is a huge amount of concern. There are a lot of people thinking about the family and praying for them at this time.

"Obviously, my thoughts are with them after what really is a horrendous ordeal."

Mr Craig, who sits on the school's board of governors, said: "People are deeply traumatised by what has happened.

"We are all just hoping and praying that the family pull through after this freak accident.

"I want to particularly praise the staff of the school. The vice principal was able to assist, so I have high praise for him and for the way the staff dealt with the very difficult situation."

In a statement, Killowen school principal Fiona Douglas said: "The thoughts of the entire school community are with the family at this time."

The school was closed on Wednesday.

Speaking shortly after the incident, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson added: "The children are injured and Mr Allen is in a very bad shape, unfortunately.

"From what I'm hearing, the situation is pretty grim. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

"I know that the staff and the parents will rally around and support the children in what must be a very traumatic experience for them."

Education Minister Peter Weir said he was saddened by the news, adding: "I commend the staff at the school for how they managed the situation and their rapid response to help those who were injured."

SDLP Lisburn Councillor Pat Catney called the an accident "an absolute tragedy".

Further tributes poured in on social media, expressing support for the family.

One parent wrote: "This is something you hear or see in a movie, not at my boys' school but thankfully my boys are OK. Really do hope and pray that he is OK - sending all my prayers to the family."

A Facebook user added: "Thinking about you all, keep fighting chum. Love & strength to you and the little ones."

A third posted: "One of the best George, heart of gold. Praying for you and the kids."

Belfast Telegraph


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