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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A star to guide her way

A star to guide her way

Last updated 05:00 26/04/2011
Friends and colleagues of earthquake victim Stephen Cochrane are selling symbolic candle holders to raise money for his 10-year-old daughter.

Production team members at Classique Furniture in Christchurch have banded together to support their "lost mate" and create the "1000 candles for Steve" project.

The furniture makers designed wooden tea-light candle holders that form a star shape. They plan to donate the proceeds to Kylie-Marie Cochrane's trust fund.

Jonathan Reinelt, Dale Freer, Marc Hobson and Andrew Jones have made just over 1000 candle holders in memory of Cochrane.

"Steve was like everyone's dad at work. Everyone looked up to him. It's just such a huge loss not having him here any more," Freer said.

The star shape was symbolic for Cochrane, as one of his well-known sayings around the factory was: "Oh, you're a star."

Cochrane worked at Classique Furniture for eight years. He was in the factory when the earthquake hit on February 22.

He was crushed by a concrete wall as he ran outside.

Jones was working beside Cochrane, but hid under his desk instead of bolting for the door.

"I was going to run out after him, but I didn't. It goes through my head every day," Jones said.

The production team found Cochrane's body only minutes after the quake.

The four men sat with his body for 2 1/2 hours until it was removed by emergency services.

Classique Furniture owner Graeme Dreaver said the company had received "huge support" from other businesses in the Sydenham area.

"I'm really rapt the guys are doing something for their mate. It shows he really was a huge part of the team."

During the national two minutes of silence for earthquake victims, Dreaver said more then 60 people gathered outside the factory out of respect for Cochrane.

Each tea-light candle holder is $5, with eight forming a set that makes the star shape.

The men have sold about 40 sets so far, and hope to raise $5000 for the trust fund.

Cochrane's colleagues are also making a special pink and purple candle holder set for Kylie-Marie's 11th birthday this month.

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