Northern Ireland news

Family's ordeal as two boys hit by car outside church in west Belfast

St Agnes' Church on Andersonstown Road, west Belfast

A MOTHER has told of her family's ordeal after her young son and grandson were knocked down outside a Catholic church as they left Mass.

James Tennyson (12) and his six-year-old nephew Ryan Brady suffered injuries after being hit by a car on Saturday evening outside St Agnes' Church in west Belfast.

They were at a pedestrian crossing when they were struck after attending 6.30pm Mass with James's mother Marcella, who sings in the church choir.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, she told how the parish priest gave her son the Last Rites along the street as he feared the worst.

She said her son eventually came round, thinking he was having a "bad dream".

"James opened his eyes and said, 'Mummy, I've had a really bad dream.' I looked at him and said, 'Son, so did I.' I didn't want to say son it's not a dream, you are actually lying on the road," she told the newspaper.

She added: "I could've been arranging funerals this week instead of their bags for the hospital. Someone was definitely watching over them."

Marcella described how they were leaving Mass when the ordeal happened along Andersonstown Road.

"It was really heavy rain on Saturday and I remember saying to the kids to 'zip up your coats'. Ryan always wants to push the button at the lights, as young children do," she said.

"Ryan and James were together. They are always together. They get on like a house on fire.

"I remember the green man came on and I said, 'Away yous go.' James and Ryan stepped out onto the crossing and then the next thing the kids just disappeared – it was a flash of white."

The boys were brought to the Royal Victoria Hospital. They suffered serious fractures and are set to undergo months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

"At one stage the surgeon told us that Ryan could've lost his leg if he hadn't been operated on when he was," Marcella said.

"Ryan is going to be off his feet for at least two months and James has the cage on his left leg which will be on until early next year."

Marcella thanked people for their quick actions on Saturday and their prayers for the boys, and also praised parish priest Fr Thomas McGlynn.

"My wee son Kevin ran into the chapel and Fr McGlynn came out. He was with me the whole time. At one stage he thought James was going to die, that he thought he had a head injury and gave him the Last Rites," she said.

"Fr McGlynn came down to the hospital on Sunday to see the boys."

A 37-year-old man was arrested following the collision and was later released on bail.

Police are continuing to appeal for anyone who saw the crash to phone them on 101.

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