TODAY the Lancashire Telegraph launches a major anti-violence campaign in memory of Adam Rogers.
We are standing shoulder to shoulder with Adam’s family as they set out to raise awareness of the devastating effects of spontaneous violence.
There are real concerns nationally about a culture in our town centres which sees drink-fuelled revellers turn to violence as a first option.
Last July, West Yorkshire Police launched a campaign ‘One Punch Can Kill’ after a number of attacks in town centres.
And locally, there have been a number of high-profile cases in which flashpoints have resulted in death and lasting injuries.
After experiencing the horrific consequences of spontaneous violence themselves, Adam’s parents Dave and Pat searched for a way to turn their tragedy into a force for good.
The 24-year-old Padiham ladies football coach died after a single punch as he tried to prevent a fight in Blackburn town centre.
Last month, 17-year-old William Upton was sentenced to three and a half years’ detention for the unlawful blow which killed him.
‘Consequences – let’s stop the senseless violence’ will attempt to reach out to young people, and make them stop and think about the chaos a single strike can have.
The Lancashire Telegraph and the Rogers family are being supported by Lancashire Police, Blackburn with Darwen Community Safety Partnership, several town centre licensed premises and other
A number of crackdowns on under-age drinking and other alcohol-related issues will take place under the ‘Consequences’ umbrella, such as test purchase stings and operations to take boozing children
off the street.
Major town centre nightspots, including Liquid & Envy, are pledging their commitment to responsible drinking.
Unveiling the campaign, Pat Rogers said: “From the day that it happened we didn’t want it to change us as people, to make us bitter.
"We wanted to find something positive that could come from what was such an awful personal tragedy.
“We started the conversation at the hospital. We tried to look at what we could do.
"This ‘recreational’ violence is so appalling, yet it’s happening in every town and city centre.
“We won’t change the world, but if we could change just a few people and stop this happening to one other family, it would be worth it.”
Adam’s uncle Ged Johnson has also been instrumental in the campaign and came up with the name ‘Consequences’.
Lancashire Telegraph editor Kevin Young said: “This campaign is aimed at tackling a major problem in our society.
"Too often violence is a first option among young men fuelled by drink.
“The death of Adam Rogers was utterly shocking. All who knew Adam have talked about a very special person who went out of his way to help others.
"Most of us can barely imagine the pain to his family and friends of such a loss, but it speaks volumes for the character of his parents that they are determined to turn this appalling tragedy into
a force for positive change.
"Our call today is for others to join the Telegraph and the Rogers family in our drive to raise awareness of the terrrible consequences of spontaneous violence."
Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, who lead the investigation into Adam’s death, hailed the ‘really valuable’ campaign.
He said: “I’ve seen a number of cases where a young person has consumed too much alcohol and used gratuitous, stupid violence for no reason.
“There will be many, many incidents where it will happen in every town, in every city, right across the UK, only with less serious results.”
Community leaders are also backing the campaign. Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: "I think it is a very, very important campaign.
"It speaks volumnes for the extreme humanity of Mr and Mrs Rogers and their family that they want this to be Adam's memorial and not revenge or retribution.
"The absolutely fundamental issue on my part is to force up the minimum price of alcohol in the supermarkets and convenience stores.
"They come out with all sorts of excuses, but it is harmful to local brewers like Thwaites, it is harmful to night life and it is harmful to
the children their families."
The Lancashire Telegraph has spoken to other victims of similar unprovoked spontaneous violence to highlight the catastrophic effects these incidents have on all involved.
Pat Rogers, a former assistant principal at St Mary’s College, has created an educational package based on her son’s story, which will form the cornerstone of the campaign - trying to change young
people’s attitudes to violence and drink.
There will also be a number of fundraising events under the ‘Consequences’ name.
Divisional commander, Chief Superintendent Bob Eastwood, said: “This campaign is borne out of the tragic death of a responsible, well-respected person who was clearly attacked for no reason.
"It is very cruel and tragic for all who knew Adam.
“Any initiative which helps the police and community safety partners to deal with violent crime comes with my complete blessing.”
Adam was one of 648 homicides in 2008-09, including murder and manslaughter, and, according to the most up-to-date Home Office crime statistics, he was among 884,579 victims of violence against the
person in England and Wales in the 12 months up to December 2009.
In Lancashire there were an average of 62 violent incidents a day last year, or 22,806 incidents in total.
The total of crimes had fallen slightly year-on-year.