Wednesday 21 March 2018

Betty tells of day her world turned upside down after rollercoaster ride video went viral

Claire McNeilly

The Belfast woman who was tricked into a rollercoaster ride has spoken of her pride at being brave enough to do it after video footage of the incident went viral.

Betty Stewart was pranked by her son Maurice into getting on the Wild Mouse ride at Belfast's Tall Ships Festival and she can be heard screaming in terror throughout the YouTube clip.

The 65-year-old, who suffered a brain injury in a fall that almost claimed her life, said she has now forgiven him, and is proud to be famous across the world for making people laugh.

The grandmother-of-four revealed life hadn't been kind to her. She had a nervous breakdown after her husband died from cancer in 1995, two days after her son's 15th birthday.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Betty said she would never have gone on the ride if she had known what it was going to be like, because of her brain injury.

"I thought the Wild Mouse was a wee roundabout and I told my son I'd love to go on it," she said.

"It wasn't until I got into the air that I realised Maurice had tricked me.

"I've forgiven him now, but I was cross at the time.

"I screamed from I got on it until the moment I got off it and I had to have a couple of glasses of wine to settle me down afterwards."

In the video footage, Betty, who has two grown-up children, can be heard pointing at the others on the rollercoaster and yelling: "Ohhh look at the way they're spinning, oh my God!" as her son captures every second on camera.

"Oh Lord help me," she shouts, followed by: "Oh mister, mister let me off!"

Father-of-two Maurice (35) can be heard laughing as his mum screams in terror with every spin, threatening: "Let me off this thing, you and your Wild Mouse, I'll kill you if we ever do... my heart's thumping out of me."

But, having survived the experience, the pensioner said she was glad she did it.

"I have slight brain damage, so I wouldn't normally go on a ride like that," she said.

"I fell down the stairs at a friend's house five years ago and ended up in a coma for three weeks.

"My doctor said he couldn't believe I pulled through, and I know that I'm lucky to be alive.

"I've been getting better every year and I attend a day centre for people who have brain injuries. My friends there thought I was mad before, and now they're sure!"

Betty said she now gets recognised wherever she goes because of the rollercoaster video.

"When I watch it myself it doesn't seem real, although it's funny," she said.

"Life hasn't been easy, but I'm pleased to be famous for making people laugh. It makes me feel better.

"My husband Maurice died five months after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He had just turned 50 and he was buried just two days after our son Maurice turned 15.

"It was heartbreaking. It was a very difficult time for me and I ended up with a nervous breakdown."

She added: "When I watch the video it cheers me up, and I'm proud of myself for doing it."

Belfast Telegraph

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