Support for Simon 'overwhelming'

Email:

lisa.gregg@thechronicle.uk.com

THE FAMILY of the man injured in the road traffic collision on the Ballaghmore Road last Wednesday have praised all those who played a part in the aftermath of the accident.

Simon Osborne was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he remains in the Intensive Care Unit following multiple surgeries.

Speaking to The Chronicle, Simon's father, Tony, said the family are “completely overwhelmed” by the support of the community near and far during this difficult time.

Both Simon and Tony will be familiar faces to many as they run the Osborne Family Butchers, with Simon heading up the shop at Glebeside Spar.

Tony said: “We will be eternally grateful to all those who were with Simon at the scene of the accident. There was a doctor, a nurse, a minister and a fireman, among others', and I can't stress how important everyone's role was.

“So many people have been in touch with us, there are so many prayers being said for Simon, hundreds of people are holding him and our family in their thoughts, and that's simply humbling. We are so appreciative of their support.”

Two rapid response paramedics and an emergency crew, as well as the Air Ambulance were all tasked to the incident near Portballintrae that afternoon, and Tony is under no illusion that the Air Ambulance was vital in helping save Simon's life.

Tony said: “The services of the Air Ambulance is paramount. It's beyond belief that as vital a service as this is still being privately funded. We have had some experience before with Air Ambulance after a friend needed their services, and this has reinforced to us as a family just how important it is to raise awareness that this service should be publicly funded.”

It is clear that Tony feels very strongly about the funding for Air Ambulance and appealed for those with seats at Stormont to take them again so NI can move forward on important issues, such as funding for this crucial service.

The 25-year-old had taken his motorcycle out for a spin on Wednesday afternoon when the collision with a car occurred.

Tony said: “This was just a terrible accident. The gentleman driving the other vehicle will be going through hell. He is in our thoughts and I want him to know that we hold him absolutely no animosity. We don't want him to be stressed, we need him to be well and know that we understand this was a tragic accident.”

They say the bond between a father and son is something very special, and that's made clear when Tony describes Simon as his “best friend”.

He added, “Sharon and I have two sons, Simon and Luke and a daughter Emily, and each one of them are very much loved.

“Simon and I have so much in common, he used to swim and play football and I was involved when he was doing that, in fact we believe the strength he gained doing these sports has held him in good stead for the road he is walking today.

“He is going to recover, the staff are absolutely amazed at how well he is doing, he is still critical, but stable – I don't think anyone realised the fight there is within our boy.”

Commenting, local MLA Mervyn Storey said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Simon and his family at this time. It was very concerning because Simon was in critical for 48 hours; thankfully he seems to have settled, but he has a long way to go in terms of recovery. It's not what you want to have happened at any time, but with a motorcycle it's always a bit more frightening, with so little protection that always brings that extra element of danger.”

Police are appealing for anyone who was travelling on the Dunluce Road and who witnessed the collision to contact officers in Coleraine on 101 quoting reference 641 02/01/19.

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