Lisburn lightning strike victim's family call for defibrillators in all schools
THE family of a man critically injured after being struck by lightning at a children's sports day have called for defibrillators to be a standard in all schools.
George Allen (36) and his two children, son Geordie, five and seven year-old daughter Georgha, were hit by lightning on Tuesday last week at Killowen Primary School, Lisburn.
The young children have been allowed to leave hospital, but their father remains critical but stable in the intensive care unit of the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald.
In a statement yesterday Mr Allen's wife Sharon and the family thanked the public for their "kind thoughts, support and prayers".
They also praised those at the school and medical staff for their "fantastic efforts and continued care".
"Had it not been for the fast actions of those at Killowen that day, the outcome would have been tragic," they said.
"Parents and teachers had to use the defibrillator on both George and wee Geordie. Wee Geordie responded to its use, however George required additional treatment.
"It should be standard that all schools have defibrillators with the hope that they would never need to use it."
Mr Allen was collecting his two children from school after sports day finished when the accident happened during a storm just before 2pm.
The family statement added: "As you can imagine, this has been totally shocking and devastating for us all. The fact that the children have come through as they have is a blessing. They are both home and doing well.
"There is still a long way to go for George, however at this time he is the most stable he has been. He has fought hard and continues to fight."
A fundraising initiative set up to support Mr Allen's family has so far raised around £4,000.
"George would be speechless at the outpouring of love and support Sharon and the family have received," the statement said.
"The fund that was set up is testament to the community and a clear demonstration of the good in people. When people need a helping hand, all have provided it in their own way."
The family also wished to clarify some media reports, saying that Mr Allen was not on his phone at the time of the lightning strike, he does not have any metal plates and he was not holding an umbrella.
"This was a tragic, freak accident," they said in the statement, issued through the South Eastern Trust.