Malachi Cush looking forward to Christmas after cheating death in runaway car smash
Singing star Malachi Cush has revealed he will enjoy an extra-special Christmas after nearly being killed by a runaway car earlier this year.
The Co Tyrone musician (38) cheated death on June 3 when a car careered down a Dungannon street and ploughed into him and a friend in a freak accident.
The Fame Academy star had been standing outside SA Trotter's family hardware store on Scotch Street with owner Andrew Trotter when the car smashed into them both at 50mph.
They both miraculously survived the accident and the Donaghmore performer has now revealed how grateful he is for a Christmas he might never have seen.
He said: "I'm a lover of Christmas anyway, I always have been. I love the season, the preparation and having the Christmas dinner here with friends and family.
"It's just one that I'm really very grateful to be enjoying this year after what happened, I'm grateful to have it to look forward to.
"It's just a joy, my wife Claire and I are really looking forward to it. The consultant in the hospital reminded me of how lucky I am just this week, I had said I wasn't really looking forward to January because I have an operation scheduled.
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"He told me I should be because I might not have been here and was very lucky to have survived that accident and he was right. I have a lot to be grateful for and you do need those wee checks of reality sometimes."
During his time in hospital and throughout his recovery, Malachi says he has been inundated with support from friends, family, his local community and even his showbiz pals.
He said: "People in the industry have been very good to me. Eamonn Holmes visited me in the hospital, Gloria Hunniford wrote me a letter, Liam Lawton sent me a couple of mass cards, Andrea Begley who is performing with me sent me a few messages.
"Philomena Begley was in hospital at the same time actually and we were messaging each other comparing where we were at in terms of recovery.
"My old friend Eamonn Mallie was dropping in occasionally and Lynette Fay was in touch, too. There was just a real sense of support and helping me get through the recovery."
He added: "It really carried me through and has certainly strengthened my faith. Also it brought home to me the innate goodness of people in this part of the world and I have been carried through on a wave of support from everybody, especially my incredible wife Claire."
Claire (35) added: "It was a difficult experience, very tough at the time, I suppose it's not over yet but he's been a very good patient."
Malachi and his pal Andrew sustained a series of horrific injuries with Andrew suffering head, shoulder and elbow damage while Malachi had severe injuries to his lower legs and head.
Since the life-changing incident, the pair have become close friends and spurred each other on during their respective recoveries.
Malachi also said they enjoyed cross-community support following the incident, adding: "Andrew and I have both reflected on the support we have received from all across the board. He's a Dungannon Presbyterian and I'm a Donaghmore Catholic and both our communities were joined together in supporting everyone involved in the incident."
Malachi added: "He has a brand new stainless-steel elbow as his elbow was completely crushed. So we've been keeping in touch about our recovery, physio and so on."
During the darker moments in recovery, the singer confessed he considered a change of career but isn't quite ready to give up performing just yet.
He said: "My career has definitely been on my mind and I wondered is this a moment to change my pathway. I did toy with the idea of getting a van and becoming a gardener - I went through a couple of career choices, actually! I have been thinking what could I change and considered a complete change of career. I didn't make any rash decisions, though, and I'm back performing now.
"Music lifts you, we all find something in music. The lads have been here rehearsing and it's been an absolute joy.
"I'm surrounded by good people and I love what I do, I love music, broadcast and meeting people. That's where my heart is but one doesn't know what the future holds.
"My recovery is going really well at the moment and I honestly cannot thank the NHS staff enough - they have been absolutely incredible.
"To see the work those people do at the Royal Victoria Hospital is humbling, they should be looked after completely, they do an incredible job. I know in their hands I will make a full recovery.
"My leg was completely shattered and I'm undergoing a staged reconstruction which is going very well. I could easily have lost my leg but I still have it thanks to them.
"I have surgery scheduled for January and hopefully by this time next year I'll be back to normal."
Malachi is performing a number of shows in the run-up to Christmas with Karl McGuickan, Liam Lawton, Andrea Begley and others in Banbridge, Keedy, Pomeroy, Belfast and Dungannon. See facebook.com/malachicushofficial