‘We’ll all still celebrate Christmas for Martine’: family of popular mum hit by van will gather in hospital as she recovers

Martine Gardner is 'full throttle on the road to recovery'

Martine Gardner is 'full throttle on the road to recovery' - Credit: Archant

The family of a popular school worker known as “Mrs Christmas” have vowed to celebrate the festive season with her as she fights for her life in hospital.

Martine Gardner with her childen Libby, 15, and Connor, 19.

Martine Gardner with her childen Libby, 15, and Connor, 19. - Credit: Archant

Martine Gardner, 43, was left in a coma after she was hit by a white van on New North Road, near the junction of Popham Road, Islington, just before 5am last Friday morning

She suffered a fractured skull, spine and pelvis, but her younger brother Terry Williams, 38, says the whole 45-strong family will head to the Royal London Hospital, where she is being treated, on December 25.

He said: “She won’t be better for Christmas. She’s improving, but she suffered a very severe brain injury and she’ll be in a coma for two weeks as a starting point, then it’ll be five or six months’ rehabilitation.

“But we won’t be cancelling Christmas – quite the opposite. Originally we all had separate plans, with our in laws and so on, but now we’ll all get together and go and see her, no matter what state she’s in.

“People know her as Mrs Christmas. She’s always got her shopping done by December, and has her tree up on the first.

“So many people have been messaging us and posting pictures of them putting up their tree up saying ‘this is for you Martine’.

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“We all grew up around the [nearby] Marquess Estate and she’s so well known in the area.

“The support we’ve had from family and friends has been amazing.

“People we haven’t seen for 10 years have been offering their houses for us to stay in. We can’t thank everyone enough.”

Separated Ms Gardner, who lives on Southgate Road, Islington, has worked at the New North Academy, in Popham Road, for many years - and even went to school there when it was called Charles Lamb Primary School.

The mum of two, who was on her way to work when tragedy struck.

“It’s been incredibly, incredibly hard,” said Mr Williams.

“It’s been a blur. I got a call at 6.30am saying what had happened. So I went to pick my mum and dad up and take them there, which was awful. Especially as they haven’t been very well.

“Martine is such a big part of all our lives. As a family we’ve known grandparents die, but that’s it.

“It’s been roughly tough on her children Libby and Connor.

“We’re a massive family and we must drive the hospital mad, but the staff have been unbelievable, no matter how many times we ask the same question. So were the paramedics who treated her at the scene.

“You can’t tell at the moment because she does look very ill, but we are all really confident and positive.

“We know what she’s like and she’d say ‘I’m not having it’, fight it and beat it.

“It’s a long road, but she is going to make it – she is going to pull through.”

The van stopped at the scene and the driver, a man aged 35, was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and driving whilst unfit. He has been bailed until March.