FAMILY BOND: Finoa Simpson, her daughter Clara and grandma Val Bowman are grateful for each other after Thursday's storm.
FAMILY BOND: Finoa Simpson, her daughter Clara and grandma Val Bowman are grateful for each other after Thursday's storm. Claudia Williams

Kingaroy mum hailed a hero

FIONA Simpson has captured the world's attention after she put her body on the line to protect her baby during a freak hail storm last week.

Mrs Simpson was travelling from Nanango to Kingaroy when she pulled over at Coolabunia in the heavy rain on Thursday afternoon.

When the tennis ball-sized hail started smashing her car windows, she instinctively used her body as a shield to protect her daughter.

As a result, Mrs Simpson has sustained painful welts and bruised to her body.

"I don't want to think about what would have happened if I didn't do that," she said.

"I don't think our daughter would be with us - if it weren't the hail damage, it would have been from the cold."

She posted photos on Facebook to warn her friends of the dangers of the storm and to seek advice for her bruising.

She never dreamed the photos would go viral and capture the world's attention.

"I am really shocked. I didn't think it was that big of a deal," Mrs Simpson said.

"I don't think what I did was brave, I just did it. Anyone in that situation would do the same thing."

Mrs Simpson, her four-month-old daughter Clara, and her grandma, Val Bowman, were driving from Nanango towards Kingaroy when the rain started.

When it was safe to drive following the hail storm, Mrs Simpson drove up the road to Pottique Lavender Farm, calling our for help.

 

She said she was thankful for the support of her grandma and the people from Pottique who provided them with blankets and called an ambulance.

"Grandma was a real trooper," she said.

"I passed my daughter to my grandma and she held onto her the entire time. I am so proud of her because she would have been in a lot of pain.

"I would like to thank the couple at Pottique for helping us out because they were in trouble as well," she said.

Mrs Bowman said it was hard to explain the experience because it all happened so quickly.

"I was worried about the little one. The hail was coming in my window and I didn't know what was happening behind me and then Fiona reached across me and I realised what was going on and her window was gone as well," she said.

Clara has been getting a lot of cuddles in recent days and Mrs Simpson said she has been very happy playing and doesn't seem to notice anything has changed.

"After we got to hospital and she was warm she was happy playing, giggling and smiling at the nurses," Mrs Simpson said.

Since Thursday, Mrs Simpson and her husband, Brett, have been overwhelmed by the attention and support they have received.

Between the couple, they have received over 1000 Facebook messages from as far as Canada and Norway, as well as friends in the South Burnett.

"I am really shocked because I didn't think it was a big deal. I am overwhelmed by the support," she said.

The car will be replaced by Mrs Simpson's insurer, but she has also had four other insurance companies reach out to say they would replace it if she wasn't insured.

Clara's pram, baby seat and baby carrier were all in the car and have had to be replaced.

Fiona's mum was buying replacements at a Baby Bunting store in Brisbane and when they heard what had happened offered her a big discount.

"Mum was so grateful she was in tears," Mrs Simpson said.

The story has received worldwide media coverage but the family have seen little of it, spending quality time together instead.

"I haven't seen anything on the news because I lost the TV remote on Friday," Mrs Simpson said.

"I have tried to put my phone down and keep away from it."

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