I worked Christmas day and boxing day. We still all had a nice time. We had Christmas dinner when I finished and exchanged presents. It was a good day. On the Friday, 27th December, Chantal and Ben had to work so it was just me and Adam at home. He helped me tidy the house then we settled down to a table full of left over Christmas food and watched a film. We talked and laughed. It was another good day. Except it wasn't, because Adam went out that night at about 7pm and I never saw him alive again. Fortunately Chantal and Ben were home before Adam went out so mum, dad and brother all got to see him that day before he died. He was 17 and 7 months. He was my baby. We knew he was meeting friends and was possibly going into the city. He was such a sensible kid and his friends all were to. At home Adam would never drink, even if offered a sneeky beer, but we knew that when out with his friends, he would have a drink, more out of wanting to fit in, but never to excess as far as we knew. The next morning when we got up he wasn't there. He did sometimes stay out at friends and so we wern't to concerned although he would normally text us to let us know. That's all we asked however there had been a couple of times he hadn't, either forgetting or because his battery was dead. I tried ringing him and at about 9.30am I sent a text saying, "are you alive?". It was meant as a joke! Some joke. Chantal and I walked into the local village and came back just after lunch time fully expecting Adam to be home but he wasn't. We tried calling his phone many times but it just rang out. We called some of his friends who he had been out with and they said they last saw him outside a club in town at about 2.30am. He had been with some people and didn't want to go home so they left him. We started to worry and called the police. The police came and took details. They checked his phone and came up with a 500 metre area in the city where it was. When Ben got home, me and him, armed with torches went into the city and began to search. We spoke to drunks, tramps and doormen. We checked down alleyways, in bins, down canal sides...everywhere. We came home at around 7am with nothing. By now word was out and people were wanting to help. The police were arranging searches but we arranged our own and 100+ people turned up at midday and helped us search the city centre. His friends from college brought leaflets and posted them everywhere. By the time it went dark again and we still had nothing, I began to lose hope. I did an appeal on TV then the next day we went to police headquarters and I did another. As we drove home from the police station I got a call from the police saying they needed us to come home straight away. I asked if they had found Adam and after a long pause, they said yes. With my wife in hysteria, I drove home, breaking every traffic law and hardly able to see for the tears streaming down my face. My worst nightmare had come true. Adam had been drinking and had began to walk home. He fell from about 25 feet and died from his injuries. Without going into detail, the location he fell was inacessable to anyone and it was quite fortunate he was found at all. Adam was so popular, he had so many friends especially at his college where they lay a carpet of flowers and lit candles spelling his name. Despite the cold and the rain, his friends took turns to stay with the vigil and relight all the candles throughout the coming nights. Because his missing and then death had been a big news story, it seemed to capture the people in the city and the following night, new years eve, just before the fireworks in the city centre park, 8000 people fell completely silent for a minute to remember him. It was incredible. Later, we sent a message to the paper which they printed, thanking people for their love and support and we added that, “We know we are not alone in suffering the ultimate loss of losing a loved child, either through illness or tragedy, and so we share and dedicate that minute’s silence to all parents and families who find themselves in our desperate position.” We didn't know the people we were dedicating to at that time, but we know some of them now and that is the people here. We share your grief. We know we now belong to a special group of people who truly know the pain of losing a child because until it happens, it is impossible to fully imagine. We are now 1 month into what we know will be a very long journey and that we have hardly begun. Life will never be the same.