Published by Cobram Courier online and in print on February 12.

Their fridges are full of home-cooked meals and treats dropped off by dozens of well-wishers from throughout the community.

But there are still empty spaces in the hearts of the Atkinson-Thrings.

Steve Thring, Raelene Atkinson and Kara-Lee Atkinson-Thring are mourning the death of their only son and brother Hayden Atkinson-Thring, 20, who died on January 2 after a fatal stabbing in Station St, Cobram.

But the Atkinson-Thrings, along with other family members including Mr Thring’s parents Dennis and Trish Quirk, are drawing solace from the ‘‘overwhelming’’ support of those around them.

They said family, friends and even strangers from Cobram and Koonoomoo had rallied to make sure such a heartbreaking time was slightly more bearable.

Mr Thring said his son’s close friends, in particular, had offered an enormous amount of support to the family.

‘‘Everybody thinks all of these young blokes are all yahoos, but they’ve gone out of their way and are still doing stuff now for us,’’ Mr Thring said.

‘‘They’re still coming around every night. It’s working for all of us because we’re all sticking together.’’

He said the family was grateful for the ongoing support from Cobram police, Moira Shire Council and the town’s counsellors.

‘‘Normally with this sort of thing, after two weeks everyone’s gone and it just sort of stops,’’ Mr Thring said.

‘‘But they’re still supporting us and I guess we’re supporting them at the same time.’’

In the month since Hayden’s death, the family has often woken to bags of groceries left at their houses.

Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative members donated ‘‘truckloads’’ of sandwiches to the family, stacked in bread baskets towering over Ms Atkinson.

Mr Thring said the family was touched by the community’s generosity.

‘‘The Koonoomoo florist, she donated flowers, she’s brought around food, and we don’t even know her,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s been people dropping off food and we don’t even know who they are.

‘‘I woke up one morning and I reckon there was 20 loaves of bread sitting on the table.’’

The family received so much food that Mr Thring and Ms Atkinson’s landlords, Joe and Kerry Fisher, bought a fridge for the family to store it all in.

‘‘You don’t get many landlords like that,’’ Mr Thring said. ‘‘To buy us a fridge, and everything else.’’

The Atkinson-Thring family wished to thank Dr Pang and staff at Cobram Medical Clinic, Tozer’s Pharmacy in Cobram, Diedre Atkinson, and Hayden’s girlfriend Kelli Berdini and her family.

Ms Berdini wanted to thank her friend Georgia Brooks who she said had not left her side since Hayden’s death.

AuthorToni Brient