Birth of Pike River victim’s baby “bittersweet”

The birth of a baby girl whose father is one of the Pike River Coal victims has been a “bittersweet” moment for the family.

Erika Millicent Ufer will never meet her father Joshua Ufer, who was killed in the November 19 blasts that ripped through the underground coal mine on New Zealand’s west coast.

Erika’s birth notice said she was a “special little girl who brings sunshine back into our lives.”

When 25-year-old Australian Joshua Ufer went to work at the Pike River Coal mine on the fateful November day, he had no idea it would be the last time he ever saw his partner Rachelle weaver, who was four months pregnant with their first child.

Weaver’s mother Nancye Langley told The New Zealand Herald mother and baby are both doing well.

"We are just trying to have a bit of quiet family time at the moment," she said.

Joshua’s mother, Joanne Ufer, travelled to New Zealand in preparation for the birth said she was "so excited by the birth of the beautiful baby Erika".

"It is going to be very hard for us to return to Australia later this week.
"It was a thrill to be able to be here for the birth but bittersweet that Joshua was not able to be a part of it."

Ufer had only moved to New Zealand shortly before the mine tragedy and fallen in love with Weaver.

The couple had planned to return to Australia to have the baby.
Weaver said she and her family were determined Erika would grow up knowing what a good man her father was, and what an "exceptional father" he would have been.

Image: Josh Ulfer, stuff.co.nz

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