Orlando Rogers was a Royal Marine from Devon who was tragically killed in a plane crash on May 15th 2011. During Orlando’s 26 years and 6 days of life he made the most of every single day and truly lived life to the fullest. In his short time here, before he was cut down in his prime, he notched up many notable achievements. The greatest of those achievements is the one which is perhaps the hardest to describe.
Orlando affected people in such a positive and inspiring way. He was a natural catalyst for helping people to make the most of themselves and life and was always optimistic. He took the approach that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and push yourself to get to where you are aiming. When you met him, you knew instantly that you were with someone who was genuine in all he said and did. He was charismatic, adventurous, funny and confident but also humble sensitive and kind. Being with him would inevitably lift your spirits. His capacity for experiencing life, improving himself and striving to achieve was relentless and insatiable. He always made time for his family and friends and would always be smiling, laughing and joking. Orlando was the most enthusiastic person you could ever imagine or meet and he loved his life and the people around him. It was as if Orlando was that rarest of beings, somehow touched with a unique brand of magic and genius. Although he was only 26 years old he was mature and wise beyond his years. Orlando has given us a legacy in the form of his energy and his example and way of being.
Throughout his life Orlando Rogers always sought to fulfill his ambitions. He worked hard and played hard. He was confident and comfortable in his own skin, always showing his unique brand of enthusiasm and charisma in all he did. He treasured life and had a huge appreciation of the beauty of the world.
He was in all ways a man mountain. Large in character, large in size and huge in imaginative humour, always helping and encouraging others. During his all too short 26 years of life, he became a British Judo Champion only 12 months after taking up the sport; was part of the most successful under 16s Torquay athletic rugby team Devon has ever seen; served in Northern Ireland and Afghanistan as a Captain in the Royal Marines and rowed (mostly naked to avoid chaffing…) across the Atlantic when he was 22 years old having held that ambition since he was 16.
It wasn’t always success and achievements for Orlando; he had to work hard to become the young man he became. He was from a one- parent family who couldn’t afford many of the opportunities available to his contemporaries. For a time, as a young teenager he showed what might be termed ‘challenging behaviour’. He had too much energy and too little stimulation or opportunity in his life. He was highly intelligent but was being ‘challenging’, because he was not being challenged enough, or in appropriate ways, in school or at home. His behaviour at that time was symptomatic of frustration at his circumstances. He never veered off the rails but came close at times.
At one point he was fortunate to be offered a week away from home learning to sail. This was paid for by a kind charitable donation. It was the gift of an opportunity that would not have been possible without this help. This week away (locally) was a life changing experience for Orlando. He seized that opportunity and had a wonderful week learning a new skill.
He turned his own life around by immersing himself in sport, taking up Judo and joining the army cadets and deciding to make something of his life. He was fortunate to always be supported and encouraged by his loving family. A one-parent family, which despite its difficulties was rich in spirit and determination.