Soliks ‘were about to move’

2017-02-24 11:30
A recent family photograph of Christine and Roger Solik and their family, (from left) son Alexander, Roger, daughter-in-law Calli, son Gregory, Christine, son Brendon, daughter-in-law Catherine, daughter Jessica Carelse holding baby Xavier, and son-in-law Julian Carelse.

A recent family photograph of Christine and Roger Solik and their family, (from left) son Alexander, Roger, daughter-in-law Calli, son Gregory, Christine, son Brendon, daughter-in-law Catherine, daughter Jessica Carelse holding baby Xavier, and son-in-law Julian Carelse. (Supplied)

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It would have been a short while until the murdered Nottingham Road couple Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik moved to Cape Town to be closer to their loving family.

They had moved to South Africa from the cold and often rainy weather of Wales in the United Kingdom on the promise of sunshine and blue skies after Roger spotted an enticing advert for work here in a newspaper there.

This was revealed at their packed memorial service at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Kloof on Thursday, where scores of grieving friends gathered to bid their final goodbyes to the well-loved couple.

With a two-year work contract and two tickets to sunny South Africa, the Soliks journeyed to Kloof a year after they had married to start the next exciting chapter of their lives.

After Roger’s two-year work contract was complete, the couple had settled well enough to make South Africa their home, although the rest of their family were still in the UK.

For the Soliks’ four grief-stricken children, the news of their parents’ murder was devastating. The close-knit family were always in contact with each other and enjoyed holidays together.

With the couple’s home in the process of being sold, plans for the Soliks’ move to Cape Town to be closer to their family were shattered when they were attacked and kidnapped from their home at The Bend estate near Nottingham Road last Friday during a home invasion attack.

Christine’s body was found later that day in the Lotheni River in Impendle, her feet and hands bound with wire and her face covered with a pillow case.

Roger, who suffered from advanced Parkinson’s disease, was found on Monday afternoon by the Pietermaritzburg police’s search and rescue team.

He was found lodged between rocks in the same river, a few kilometres from where his wife was found.

Speaking to a small group of media at the Soliks’ memorial service on Thursday, two of the Soliks’ children, twins Alexander and Gregory, relayed the happy memories their family shared.

Alexander said the couple spoke to their grandchild on Facetime the night before the incident, and Gregory had spoken to Christine over the phone.

He said his parents were “in good spirits” and had just come back to South Africa from England where they had attended the funeral of Christine’s father.

The brothers said the family were last together for Gregory’s wedding in Cape Town in December.

They said Roger grew up in a coal mining town in Wales and left school at 16, four years after his father’s death, to help take care of the family.

The couple were married in 1980 and in 1981, Roger saw the newspaper advert, calling people to “come to sunny South Africa”, that would change their lives forever.

“He was very adventurous and mom had just turned 21. It was the next stage for them.”

All four children were born in South Africa, and grew up in Kloof, having meals together that their father cooked every night.

“We were all we had because we had no family here,” said Alexander.

“We were all similar ages and had a wonderful upbringing.”

They said their mother had worked at a preschool in Kloof and loved children.

Christine had loved being a mother and a grandmother and both parents were excited to be grandparents, they said.

They said the family were completely overwhelmed at the response from friends, and the large presence at the memorial was a testament to how loved the couple were.

The family thanked the various police units who were investigating the case and SA Can’s Brian Jones for his support.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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