Kim Joynson's tribute to Willie

MOURNING: Kim Joynson holds a photo of her late husband Willie at her Tinana home yesterday.
MOURNING: Kim Joynson holds a photo of her late husband Willie at her Tinana home yesterday. NAT BROMHEAD

WILLIE Joynson’s widow asked him many times to give up coal mining before he died along with 28 other men in New Zealand’s Pike River Coal mine disaster last month.

“I kept trying to pull him out but he just kept going back,” Kim Joynson said.

“He loved mining – it was in his blood.”

Kim spoke to the Chronicle yesterday after returning home with her two young children to prepare for the memorial service which will be held tomorrow at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses in Tinana at 11am.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the memorial and Kim said everyone was welcome to come along.

“He was a well-liked fella,” she said.

“He loved Maryborough and this was his home.”

Kim said Willie was a fun-loving dad to Jonathan, 13, and Benjamin, 10, and “just wanted to be part of the kids’ lives and wanted to make sure they were happy”.

“He recently went to a school camp and all the teachers reckoned they got to sit back because all the kids just went and played with Willie,” she said.

They had celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary on September 7 by going away for the weekend to Japanese hot springs and happy memories were helping them cope with their loss.

Kim said it was special to receive a letter of condolence from Queensland premier Anna Bligh and it would help them come to terms with the tragedy along with “support from all the different people who knew Willie”.

He had grown up in Howard and worked for Queensland Rail for about 15 years, also at Richers Transport driving trucks, at Woolworths night fill and as an underground coal miner at Burgowan Collieries in Torbanlea and Moranbah North in central Queensland.

They moved to Dunollie, near Greymouth, in August last year when Willie, 49, started work at Pike River Coal where 29 miners became trapped after an explosion on November 19. A second explosion forced would-be rescuers to concede that no one could have survived.

Kim said she would prefer the miners’ bodies to be left in the mine “because they’ve gone where they were most happy and as a group together” but added it was not her decision to make.

She said they would fly back to New Zealand on Friday before moving back to Tinana on January 7 as they had originally planned.

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