Ballycastle tragedy: ‘Little miracle’ Hannah Smyth returns to school after horror crash which killed mum and sister

A primary school has described little Hannah Smyth - who was critically injured in a quad bike accident in May - as their “little miracle” after her return to school.

Claire Smyth and her two daughters Hannah (5) and Bethany (3) who were involved in a tragic quad bike accident at their home in Ballycastle in May. Photo: Pacemaker.

Her mother and sister, Clare and three-year-old Bethany were killed in a road crash just outside Ballycastle, County Antrim, in May.

Hannah, five, was left critically ill and taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where she made remarkable progress.

The PSNI said a quad motorbike and a tractor were involved in the collision on Whitepark Road - a hort distance from their home.

The family’s minister, Rev John Stanbridge, said the family were involved in “a tragic and freak accident that has changed a family forever”.

Hannah’s father, Ryan, rushed to her bedside as she fought to overcome her injuries while supporters across NI prayed for her recovery.

And today Dunseverick Primary School posted a message on Facebook praising Hannah for her spirit, after her return to school in September.

Under the heading, “Miss Hannah Smyth - Dunseverick’s Little Miracle!” the Facebook post accoladed Hannah for making “a remarkable recovery”.

It added: “For such a little girl, she never gave up the fight. Her determination and never give up attitude was clearly evident in her journey to recovery, defying all odds and expectations which the health professionals had.  

“Every week Hannah made significant improvements and often talked about what she would be doing when she got back to school.”

“As your principal and as a school community we are so proud of you Hannah. You continue to amaze us, facing each day with such a positive attitude and always willing to embrace life at school to the fullest.”

The school said it was “a great privilege and honour” to be asked to help Hannah present the cheque from ‘Hannah’s PICU (Paediatric Intensive Care Unit) Sponsored Walk’ to Helping Hands, an independent charity which supports sick children at the Royal Belfast Hospital For Sick Children, where Hannah “took great delight in telling everyone at the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children that she was back at school”.  

The school added: “We were absolutely delighted when we found out that Hannah would be returning to school in September to start Primary 2 along with all her class.”

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