Colleagues band together in support of Noah and Gracie

Darren Irwin, Paul McCollum, and Ian Stewart with Greg, Sarah, Noah and Gracie Coates.  INCT 47-723-CON
Darren Irwin, Paul McCollum, and Ian Stewart with Greg, Sarah, Noah and Gracie Coates. INCT 47-723-CON

Employees at a Carrickfergus firm have put their best foot forward in support of local siblings Noah and Gracie Coates.

Staff from Sensata Technologies took part in a 10-mile fundraising walk in September, taking them from the company's base at Trooperslane Industrial Estate to the Knockagh monument.

Taking part in Greg's Knockagh Challenge.

Taking part in Greg's Knockagh Challenge.

Instrumental in organising the event were Sensata's Director of Quality, Paul McCollum, along with Ian Stewart and Darren Irwin.

"The walk itself was called Greg’s Knockagh Challenge and took place on September 22," said Noah and Gracie's father Greg Coates, who also works for the company.

"Around 80 colleagues of mine from our Carrick and Antrim facilities gave up their time and efforts to walk from the Carrick site to the Knockagh monument - the total distance was almost a 10 mile round trip. Ownie's Bar very kindly put on some food and well-needed refreshments and entertainment for us all after the walk."

A total of £23,500 was raised, boosted by a number of other events in the lead up to the walk including barbecues, bake sales, coffee mornings, and even a half marathon.

"There has also been a Northern Ireland signed football top donated and a pair of Rory McIlroy Nike shoes, worn at the British open and signed by the man himself. These will be auctioned off an appropriate event were the proceeds will go to the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, who have provided and are continuing to provide Noah and Gracie with a tremendous amount of care and support."

Almost half of the total amount came directly from Sensata, who contributed £10,000 to the fundraising efforts.

"The turnout for the walk was amazing and I’m completely humbled by the messages of support and goodwill that have been shown towards our wee family; for me the people of Sensata NI have demonstrated a real sense of community and should be proud of this effort," Greg added.

"Every penny raised will go directly to help Noah and Gracie’s lives be as comfortable, stimulating and as bearable as we can. One of the main things we are looking to do is adapt the house so that we can accommodate and create space for special sensory equipment, as well as bring some technology into the home to provide Noah in particular with a sense of independence. The money raised will certainly go a long way to making this happen.

"On behalf of Sarah and myself, I would just like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all involved - your generosity has been amazing and greatly appreciated."