Search

Highgate charity campaigner crashes car into council flat after fainting at wheel

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 May 2014

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, publically thanks caretaker Alan Ashard for pulling her from smoking wreckage after her crash in Colebeck Mews, Islington. Picture: Polly Hancock

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, publically thanks caretaker Alan Ashard for pulling her from smoking wreckage after her crash in Colebeck Mews, Islington. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A journalist and charity campaigner, who was lucky to escape with her life after her car veered off the road and crashed into a block of flats, has publicly thanked the man who pulled her from the smoking wreckage.

Ms Wallace's car after it crashed into the flat in Colebeck Mews, IslingtonMs Wallace's car after it crashed into the flat in Colebeck Mews, Islington

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of mental health charity SANE, fainted at the wheel of her Mercedes and swerved off the road – narrowly avoiding a large tree and a concrete bollard – as she was driving home from work last month.

Ms Wallace, of Bisham Gardens, Highgate, only regained consciousness after her car had crashed through a brick wall and into a ground floor council flat in Islington.

Luckily, she escaped from the collision with just a broken arm and lacerations.

“I woke up with the smoke from the airbag, with the blood from my arm and all the bricks,” said Ms Wallace.

“I was quite calm at the time. I just said very politely, can anyone help me get out of here?

“I was quite shocked to suddenly find myself in a brick wall and to be trapped. It was a miracle no one else was hurt.”

Mr Ashard, who lives above the flat Ms Wallace crashed into, said the collision on April 10 sounded like “a motorbike accident, and then a gas explosion”.

“My wife and I thought the building was going to fall down,” the 50-year-old said. “If it wasn’t for the brick wall, it could have! It broke the impact of the car.”

He rushed downstairs to help and saw that Ms Wallace was trapped. With smoke rising from the engine, Mr Ashard feared it could explode.

He could see Ms Wallace’s arm was broken so he gingerly pulled her to safety while his wife Lorraine called the emergency services.

Ms Wallace was taken to The Whittington Hospital, Archway, where the day’s trauma should have been at an end.

But she was put on the ward where her partner, the leading science journalist Tom Margerison, had stayed before his death two months ago.

“I thought, now Tom, I know I said I didn’t want to go on living without you but this is too much,” Ms Wallace said.

She discharged herself and instead visited the hospital’s new same-day treatment service, which opened on March 31, for one week after the collision.

“Alan said some guardian angel must have been guiding me that day,” she said. “Maybe Tom didn’t want me to go either.

“My thanks to Alan are absolutely enormous. In its own way, it was life-saving and I am exceedingly grateful.”

Islington Council has put in steel girders to support the block of flats, in Colebeck Mews, Canonbury, and has boarded up the hole the car made in the wall.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

10:48

A murder investigation has been launched after a 48-year-old man with a fatal stab wound was found on a 189 bus in Marylebone.

Yesterday, 16:32

Camden children took to the stage today with the cast of hit production STOMP as part of a campaign to encourage exercise across the borough.

Yesterday, 15:39

The struggle for the marginal parliamentary seat of Hornsey and Wood Green has kicked off – with Labour MP Catherine West and Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Dawn Barnes fighting over the key issue of Brexit.

Yesterday, 15:29

The parliamentary candidate is pleased that ex-MP David Ward has been sacked as a Lib Dem election candidate after accusing “the Jews” of atrocities against the Palestinians.

Yesterday, 15:01

A new action group urges residents to make their views known on “the most significant re-landscaping of the Golders Green neighbourhood since its creation” – with new houses and shops and the demolition of the Clock Tower War Memorial proposed.

Yesterday, 12:44

Part of the Northern line between Camden and Edware will be closed while a track is replaced and the overground will also be partially closed.

Yesterday, 11:50

The suspect exposed himself to two women after asking them for directions to the nearest toilets and started to perform a sex act.

Yesterday, 10:43

The creperie, which attracts celebrity customers such as Kate Moss and Harry Styles, could close as the owner is being forced to pay back the majority of a £15,000 electricity bill which he believes he could not have run up

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now