MOURNED: Josh Ufer. file
MOURNED: Josh Ufer. file


THE mother of entombed Pike River miner Josh Ufer has vowed to give her son “the greatest send-off ever”.

Middlemount’s Joanne Ufer is living every parent’s worst nightmare with 25-year-old Josh one of the 29 men confirmed now as having perished after a gas explosion ripped through the underground mine in New Zealand on Friday, November 19.

She has set up a memorial trust fund for her grandchild to be born in May to Josh’s girlfriend Rachelle Weaver, which she refers to as “little baby Ufer”.

“To all our family, friends and work colleagues on behalf of myself, Karl, our respective partners Kevin and Rul, Kymberley, Rachelle and all our extended family members, thank you so much for your support, love and well wishes during this terrible tragedy,” Mrs Ufer wrote in the December Capcoal community newsletter.

“You will all have your memories of Josh and it is with these memories you will find comfort just as we are.

“In the coming days, weeks and months we hope to catch up with you all personally.

“At this stage we don’t know when we will be bringing our boy home, but will keep you updated and get ready for the greatest send-off ever.”

DNA experts are waiting for rescue teams to deem the mine safe enough to enter to retrieve of the bodies of the miners, aged from 17 to 62.

Mr Ufer was one of two Queenslanders who lost their lives in the mine disaster.

Willy Joynson, 49, worked at the Moranbah North underground mine for 10 years and Blackwater’s Cook Colliery before joining Pike River.

A memorial service for Mr Joynson was told he was a kind bloke with a heart of gold, always ready to lend a hand.

Hundreds of mourners attended Wednesday’s service to remember a life cut short.

Mr Joynson’s wife Kim, and their two sons, Jonathan, 13, and Benjamin, 10, were among those at the service at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tinana, in Maryborough’s south.

Yesterday, New Zealand police described conditions at Pike River as “volatile”.

While flames were no longer visible at the vent, Superintendent Gary Knowles said the temperature inside was still around 600 degrees. He said oxygen was still getting into the mine and there was still a risk of further combustion, adding that any attempt at a recovery operation was a long way off.

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