On Thursday 4 January this year Margaret Hanvey (77) from Larne took a phone call from her daughter Alison. Alison was running late to pick up her daughter, Katie (16), from school and asked if Margaret could collect her. They agreed that Margaret would collect Katie at 3.30pm and the family would all meet at Alison’s at 4pm for a coffee.
The few hours that followed were certainly not what anyone expected.
Having collected her granddaughter, Margaret drove Katie home, parked in Alison’s driveway and they both got out of the car.
Unfortunately, the handbrake had not been applied and the car began to roll backwards. Katie tried to push the car to stop it while Margaret rushed to try and remove the keys but the car picked up speed and couldn’t be stopped.
Margaret recalls her last memory of that day: “I remember trying to take the keys out of the car, realising what was about to happen, but I couldn’t. I then called out to Katie. After that I have no memory of what came next.”
Katie managed to get out of the way to safety but Margaret had been struck by the car door and was knocked to the ground. She was then dragged by her car along the driveway for some time and sustained a catalogue of injuries.
Margaret’s daughter Alison remembers the scene when she arrived: “When I got the call I imagined mum to have had a minor car accident in Larne; I certainly didn’t expect anything like the scene I would arrive to. Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) and the PSNI were all there, as well as neighbours and by standers looking on. It was such a shock.”
Speaking about the accident Katie said: “I rang the ambulance for Nanny and it was there in no time, and so was AANI. After I made the call I felt completely helpless, the scene was terrifying! I will always be so grateful for the help and support of our neighbours that day. Now months later, we’re all so proud of the recovery that Nanny is making.”
Margaret had broken every rib in her body, broken her shoulder and her left arm, lost her left ear and had suffered a fractured skull as well as numerous fractured vertebrae. She spent four weeks in the Royal Victoria Hospital and endured extensive surgery, including a shoulder replacement.
With regular physiotherapy Margaret is still recovering, but she maintains a positive attitude: “It’s now seven months from my accident and I am still in recovery but I’m so grateful to HEMS team and NIAS for their speedy response and care that was provided.”
She recently visited the Air Ambulance operational base outside Lisburn and shared her story. She joked: “When I was in the Royal one of the medics asked what happened and I told him I was attacked by a Jaguar!
“I’m glad to be here and well enough to have a joke about the situation. I am also glad to be well enough to give back to the AANI charity by fundraising for them. I am a member of Invermore Art Society in Larne and we organise an art exhibition each year. This year the exhibition was for Air Ambulance and we raised £1,000.”