Sam's Tribute to Adam
Tribute from Sam Chadderton
Adam's friends and family say you only had to meet him once to really know him.
But what about if you never actually met him?
I've got to know Adam only through those closest to him and the stories they tell. His wonderful family and his legion of articulate, sensitive and courageous friends have created this warm, funny, sensitive and generous character in my mind, to the extent that I sometimes forget we've never met. He seems whole to me, rounded, tangible. I know his favourite jokes, his poor timekeeping, his qualities and his flaws. I know his humanity, feel his existence in the family's grief, yet I'll never know his parent's pain.
I only feel echoes of that aching loss, the occasional cracks in their voices and the aching beauty of Dave's eulogy and his telling of 'Adam's Story'.
When I first turned up on the doorstep of Pat and Dave's home to begin the Lancashire Telegraph's work on the Consequences campaign, I was struck by how similar they were to my own family.
The same values; shared family mealtimes, the 'door always open' approach to their children and their children's partners and friends, an upbringing rooted in education and a comfortableness with honest affection.
Dave reminded me of my step-dad, the love of football, the deep social conscience and enthusiasm of discussion and debate.
When I left the Lancashire Telegraph in March 2012 after becoming close to the Rogers family, I received a message from Pat on the similarities she saw between myself and Adam. I was choked.
Journalists can often feel like impostors. We are strangers intruding into a very personal grief and making it public.
Yet in the two-and-a-half years I've known and worked with the Rogers family, I've shared heartbreaking and uplifting moments and never been made to feel that I don't belong there.
In their darkest moments in a harrowing court ordeal, to the birth of Tim's son and the meeting of Mark Smith and his baby given life through Adam's gift, I have observed, interviewed, and marvelled at the dignity of this family.
The campaign is fitting. It, like Adam, is moving at its own natural pace, gathering momentum and followers, not seeking to blame, but reaching out to help.
I'll never meet Adam. The tragedy that his family and friends must carry is that those coming into their lives will never know the joy of being around him – and how much they have lost.
But if you can judge a man on the company he keeps, I don't have to have ever known Adam to be sure that he was – to quote Dave's eulogy - a good man who did good things.