A 12-YEAR-OLD girl is still in a coma in the Royal Victoria Hospital over a week after she was knocked down near Dromara while returning home from school.
Stephanie Shannon, a year eight pupil at Banbridge Academy, was hit by a car on Monday March 22 , close to the junctions of the Leopogues, Edentrillick and Ballynahinch Roads - known locally as McAdam's junction.
Since then her parents Deirdre and Brian, her sister Ellen and brother Rory have kept an agonising bedside vigil as they wait for Stephanie, who is in a critical condition, to wake up.
It is thought it could take weeks before the schoolgirl, who is a long-time member of the Ballyvally Archers, alongside her mum and brother, wakes up.
Chairman of the club Frank Mulligan said Stephanie is a very popular member of the team and everyone has offered their support to the family at this time.
"Deirdre had asked me to thank all those who sent emails and other words of support and to keep everyone updated about Stephanie's progress," said Mr Mulligan.
It is especially upsetting for one group of teenage girls in the club, of which Stephanie is a part, who met through the Archers." McAdam's junction, a recently resurfaced road, has seen a number of accidents over the years and is not far from the notorious Cairns crossroads which has been the subject of a long campaign to improve visibility for traffic in the area.
Paul Stewart, PA to Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, said he has been inundated with calls and visits from people concerned about the crossroads in light of Stephanie's accident.
Mr Stewart said the issues will be raised at a meeting on April 19 with Roads Minister Conor Murphy.
Offering his sympathy to the family Mr Stewart said, "My thoughts and prayers are with the child involved and with the family. 1 know what they are going through after the loss of my brother in a road accident earlier this year.'