Bandswoman still suffering from 2013 Twelfth parade injuries

The bandswoman with a photograph of the injuries she suffered during the attack in 2013
The bandswoman with a photograph of the injuries she suffered during the attack in 2013

A female band member whose jaw was fractured during an attack on a 2013 Twelfth parade in east Belfast is still suffering the effects of her ordeal.

The 25-year-old member of the Mourne Young Defenders – who was 23 and engaged to be married when a brick struck the right side of her face – has difficulty eating and remains nervous about taking part in parades.

Her band was at the tail end of the annual demonstration which passes through the junction of the lower Newtownards Road and Short Strand area on both the outward and return legs.

“I remember the parade stopping at the Albert Bridge, which is normal, but then the parade stopped again further along.

“Once we moved off again, and came round the corner towards the Short Strand, I remember looking up and seeing bottles and bricks, everything, in the air coming at us,” she said.

“There was nowhere for us to go. I was knocked out straight away. I was at the front of the band and the only one badly hurt thankfully.

“I got hit with half a brick right on my jaw, leaving me with a hairline fracture just under my eye. Lucky enough the thick rim of my band hat saved me from a worse injury.”

The band member, who does not wish to be identified, was able to carry on with her wedding in May last year and is expecting her first child next month.

She said: “A couple of guys lifted me up, after I fell down into the rest of the band’s colour party, and took me into the protection of a bus shelter.

“My brother and cousins are in the band and they carried me down to the ambulance, as the ambulance wouldn’t come up the road because the attack was still going on.

“They were going to take me to the hospital, but my brother suggested taking me home first to get out of my uniform.

“I went home and got changed then went to Daisy Hill hospital where I was seen straight away.”

The expectant mother said she has been taking pain-killing medication since suffering the injury.

“I still can’t eat properly, chew hard food, or even open my mouth wide when I go to the dentist. I didn’t parade for a while but I did once the swelling went down, and I started to feel more normal.

“I went back out with the band for the Twelfth of July last year.

“My baby is due in July this year so I’ll hardly be parading this time around. I think I’ll just stay in Kilkeel this Twelfth,” she added.