A CORK singer who was seriously injured in a car crash is hailing her nine-year-old daughter a hero as she prepares to celebrate her communion just a week on from their terrifying incident.
Caroline Bailey from Castlemartyr is recovering in hospital after breaking her neck as well as her pelvis in three places, in a traumatic car incident in Castlelyons.
The singer, who forms one half of popular Cork band Sparkle with her fianceé Jen, credits her daughter Ellie for keeping them both calm so they could escape from the vehicle safely.
She said the car had flipped three times until finally coming to a standstill and leaving them in mid-air. Miraculously, Caroline’s daughter only had to stay in Cork University Hospital overnight for observation.
Meanwhile, Caroline has only been able to see her daughter through Facetime. She hopes they can be reunited before her communion on Saturday and says it’s a miracle they are both alive.
The musician currently has to wear a neck brace and is confined to her hospital bed. Nonetheless, Caroline says that doctors have reassured her that she will eventually be able to walk again.
The ordeal, which happened a week ago, comes two months after Caroline’s public proposal to her bandmate Jen at Cork Pride Week. Ellie had been looking on and even joined them on stage following the proposal. While they have always been inseparable, Caroline said she has never been so proud of her daughter.
“I couldn’t be more proud of anyone as I am of Ellie right now.
“Even though the car had flipped over three times and the windows around us were smashed in she stayed calm and asked me if I was okay. I didn’t know if the car was going to blow up or not. All I knew was that we needed to get out.
“She kept her cool and listened to everything I had to say. That’s what got us out of the car. She is so amazing. All I can think about is how lucky we are to both be alive.”
She also thanked locals of Castlelyons, where the accident occurred, for coming to their aid.
“We’d like to thank everyone there that day who did so much to help. When it happened Ellie wanted her teddy bear snowy.
“One person went and found him for her. Another person found her glasses. The crash was horrific but knowing that I will be able to walk and sing again one day is mind-blowing.
“At the moment I’m in absolute agony, but at least I can feel my pain. At first, the doctors weren’t even sure if I would be able to walk again. I might be broken now but the important thing is that I can be fixed.”
Caroline said that Ellie was able to return to school this week just a few days after the crash.
“If it was her who had taken the impact I don’t think I would have been able to cope. I just can’t wait to see her again.”
The support, Caroline said, has been keeping the family strong. A number of well-known figures have been among those reaching out to the family including Trisha Lewis of Trisha’s transformation fame.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. It’s the support I’m getting — some of which I’ve had from people I’ve never even met — that is keeping me going.”
Caroline said the incident has shed light on the love people have for her and Ellie.
“I realise now, if it had gone the other way, how many lives would have been destroyed. I’ve always loved life, but now I know how precious it is.”
Caroline’s fianceé Jen shared her sentiment.
Speaking about the singer she said: “Anyone who meets Caroline falls in love with her straight away.
“It was the exact same for me when I met her for the first time. She has a great effect on people. Even people who have only met her once have been in touch to offer help and support. The people who helped on the day and the paramedics were so amazing. I only wish we knew their names so we could thank everybody individually.”