Autism charity, Circle of Support, loses co-founder
Ms Coyle (36), died suddenly at the weekend. She was described by Circle of Support secretary and friend, Juliana Harkin, as her “gladiator in high heels”.
“I knew Carrie for the last seven years and not only has COS lost its chairperson and one of its co-founders but I have lost my best friend. She was my gladiator in high heels,” she said.
“I honestly believe the people of Derry don’t know what they have lost in Carrie and I would hope that COS would be her legacy. I hope now that we can go on to achieve all that she lobbied for for families and children with autism in Derry and further a field.
“Carrie was so proud to be part of life in Derry. She felt completely at home here. Every year when taking part in the COS walk across the Peace Bridge, Carrie would be front and centre with a big smile on her face. One of the things Carrie encouraged other parents with children with autism to do was to meet up and talk over a cup of coffee. When many of the mums heard the tragic news at the weekend some met up for coffee - they coped the way Carrie had taught them to,” said Ms Harkin.
Originally from Dublin, Ms Coyle moved to Londonderry when she was 16 years-old. She had three children, Kenadie (18), Morgan (14) and Carter aged seven.
She was described as an inspiration by SDLP MLA for Foyle, Mark H Durkan, who is on the Assembly’s All Party Group on Autism and knew Ms Coyle.
“Carrie Coyle was a lovely lady. She did a lot for our local community,” he said.
“Carrie was an inspiration and will be a loss to the wider Derry community. My sympathies go out to her family at this difficult time,” he said.
In 2012, Carrie appeared with four other COS mothers, on the ITV programme ‘Surprise, Surprise’ hosted by TV personality Holly Willoughby.