The friends of a man killed in a Christmas Eve tragedy will gather this weekend to ensure he gets the best send-off possible.
Liam Rogerson, of Houghton, died after he was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing as he visited his sister Faye in Dartford, Kent.
The 28-year-old’s death has left his mates and his family devastated, but as they come to terms with their sudden loss they have turned their efforts to raising funds to cover his funeral costs.
On Saturday, a fundraising night will be held at the Sun Inn, in Newbottle, where he would call in regularly with friends, and follows on from a Just Giving donations page set up by those he was close to.
Licensee Anna Place was moved to host the event after a tin was first set up on the bar to collect funds and she and others who are helping to put on the night have been taken aback by the generosity of businesses and people who have donated prizes to raffle.
Friend Aimee Poole, went to school with Liam, first to St Michael’s Catholic Primary in Houghton, then St Robert of Newminster in Washington.
What happened is just horrific, it’s just unbelievable, we just keep expecting him to walk it, it just hasn’t registered.Anna Place
She works for Walker and Morrell funeral directors in Sunderland Street, Houghton, and is helping to organise his service.
The 27-year-old said: “My Mam, Lynn Poole, is good friends with Liam’s mam Sandra.
“With the accident happening down in Kent, we felt that there was nothing really we could do to help the family with them being so far away.
“So that was the main reason for setting up the Just Giving page.
“We set it up and we got £1,100, but then once I put that on Facebook, Anna said ‘what do you think about putting on a fundraiser as well?’
“I just can’t believe we’ve had so many donations of prizes, even our old primary school has given us one, but there’s been a massive amount of support from the community.
“There have been a few messages on the Just Giving page and we’ve heard from people who didn’t know him and from people from Dartford who had heard about what happened.
“Liam was quiet and caring, his family came first.
“I’m very honoured to be asked to arrange Liam’s funeral, it shouldn’t be happening now though 28 is no age at all.
“But I hope that I can help by bringing comfort to the family, with them knowing someone who cares for Liam, having known him a long time is taking care of him now.
“I’d also like to thank everyone for their support, for all of the donations and raffle prizes.
A signed book by local author Sheila Quigley is among the prizes on offer in the raffle.
Anna, who has run the pub for 27 years, added: “We felt like we wanted to do something for his family.
“Roge was very much a regular and would come in with a group of his friends.
“He was a lovely lad and would always be the quiet one.
“What happened is just horrific, it’s just unbelievable, we just keep expecting him to walk it, it just hasn’t registered.
“There are so many prizes, we can’t believe the generosity of people.”
A 22-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and perverting the course of justice in connection with Liam’s death.
They have been bailed as inquiries continue.
Liam worked at Dynamic Arc, a welding machinery firm in Seaham, as an electrical engineer panel fitter.
As well as Sandra, 57, and Faye, 23, he also leaves dad Bill, 59, and brother Niall, 19.
The fundraiser will start at 7.30pm.
Liam’s funeral will be held at 10am on Friday, January 20, at St Michael’s Church, in Houghton.
Anyone who would like to donate to the fund can visit http://bit.ly/2ijI7tn.