The mum of a Chester teenager killed at Hillsborough shared happy memories about the ‘naturally charming son that everyone loved’ at an inquest into the 1989 disaster.
But Veronica Rogers, from Dodleston , also relayed the heartbreak of losing her second son who survived the disaster but died six months later.
During the pen portrait of her 17-year-old sports-mad son Henry Rogers, who lost his life that fateful day, Mrs Rogers spoke of a promising student who had hoped to study economics at university.
He was ‘an entreprenueur in the making’, she said, who would read a copy of the Financial Times when bored in French classes and had invested his savings in share prices.
She said: “Everyone loved Henry – teachers, adults and contemporaries. It was almost impossible to be cross with him.”
Mrs Rogers said she, her husband Stephen and their daughter Alex had been due to move to Australia for a two-year-work assignment, leaving Henry in Britain to continue with his A-levels at Queen's Park High School in Handbridge.
However, their trip was delayed after Henry’s tragic death.
Later, in October 1989, the family departed for Australia, with son Adam, two years older than Henry, staying behind to continue working for Lever Brothers.
The pair who had been ‘inseparable’ as children, were still close as adults, and had both attended the match on the day of the disaster.
Mrs Rogers explained: “Sadly, the trauma of surviving Hillsborough, the loss of his younger brother and his child-onset diabetes together resulted in his lonely death as we arrived in Sydney.
“We returned to Chester only a few days after our departure to deal with the practicalities of another child’s death and funeral.”
Before his death, Henry and his friend Mark had planned to visit Australia for an extended visit.
“Sometime later, back in Australia, we were able to fly Henry’s friend Mark over for the promised visit, but the absence of both Henry and Adam was all too apparent, and has remained so ever since,” Mrs Rogers said.
New inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy are being held in Warrington.
Veronica and Henry's father Steve recently opened a new sixth form centre, the Henry Rogers Sixth Form Centre, at Queen's Park High School.
Hillsborough Memorial Service - April 15 2014
A schoolfriend of Henry Rogers visited Liverpool’s football ground yesterday, (Tuesday, April 15) to pay her respects to the 17-year-old on the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.
Melanie Pape Waring, of Lache, was in the year above Henry at Queen’s Park High School, and knew both him and his brother Adam.
She remembers Henry as being ‘sports mad’ and ‘just a really nice lad’, and felt compelled to honour him at Anfield on the landmark anniversary.
Melanie told The Chronicle: “I’ve never been to previous Hillsborough memorial services and I don’t need to go again.
“I felt this was the right time to go and be there for Henry.
“My sister’s husband also lost a friend that day so we all went together as a family.”
She added: “It wasn’t a happy occasion, it was very emotional. But it brought so many people together. Everyone was so friendly, even the non-Liverpool supporters. They were all there for the same reason.
“I couldn’t help thinking of my kids going to watch Chester FC every week.
“You never dream of them not coming home.”
Tens of thousands gathered for the memorial service at Anfield.
Groups of fans stood around in bright sunshine in front of the ground’s permanent Hillsborough memorial, reading the names of the dead.
At the centre of the memorial burns an eternal flame, next to the Shankly Gates, festooned with scarves left by fans of different clubs showing their support.