Rachelle Weaver with Josh Ufer, who died in the Pike River mine explosion.
Rachelle Weaver with Josh Ufer, who died in the Pike River mine explosion.

New daughter ray of hope

JOSH Ufer was so excited to be a father he’d already picked out the name for his baby daughter seven months before she was born.

Erika Millicent Ufer has given grandmother Joanne Ufer a ray of hope for the future when she was born on May 21, six months after her son Josh was killed in a series of explosions at New Zealand’s Pike River mine disaster.

Joanne said it was a “bittersweet” chapter in the unfolding tragedy as she and the 28 families of the entombed miners wait for their bodies to be recovered from the mine site.

“It’s funny how things turn out because he told me Father’s Day last year when they broke the news that Rachelle was pregnant,” Josh’s mother Joanne Ufer said on radio.

“So much got spoken about in those first couple of months that normally people would leave until later on in the pregnancy and him and I were chatting online one day, talking about names, and that was the name he picked if it was a girl.”

Joanne proudly reports Erika, who was born in New Zealand, is fit and healthy.

“That’s a nice comforting thought that he (Josh) lives on through her,” Joanne said.

The bodies of the 29 miners, including Josh, are yet to be recovered but the families hope with the sale of the mine in August they will get to bring their boys home.


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