HEARTBROKEN friends and colleagues of an 18-year-old welder who was always smiling have paid tribute after he was killed in a two-car crash.
Adam Waller, of Town Farm Crescent, Standon, died in the collision in High Cross on Tuesday. His friend Mat Bowden, who was a passenger in the car, died in hospital of his injuries.
Colleagues at Oakley Coachbuilders in High Cross – some of whom reached the scene of the fatal crash in Ermine Street before the emergency services - told the Mercury Adam had helped get Mat a job in the accident and repairs department only a month ago.
First aider George King, 63, raced from work to the collision between Adam's Fiesta and a blue Honda Civic.
He said: "I couldn't do anything for him. I'm gutted."
Devastated friend David Blankley, who worked as a coachbuilder at Oakley, said Adam had recently returned from a skiing holiday with his girlfriend of one year and her family.
Mr Blankley, 24, of Broadmeads, Ware, said: "He was very outgoing and fun to be around. He had lots of friends. I enjoyed his company.
"He was a joker and he'd like to have a laugh. He was always smiling and enjoyed the banter here. I just expect him to walk past with his little grin.
"It's like a family unit here at Oakley as you're with each other every day. It's hard and it's taken a toll on the atmosphere here. Everyone's in shock."
Andrew Oakley, who runs the horse box builders, said Adam would be "sorely missed" by the 70 or so employees.
He said: "He came to us from Freman College nearly four years ago as a young shy boy starting on work experience and then part-time as he studied for a diploma in engineering at Hertford Regional College (HRC) in Turnford. He proudly and successfully completed his training and joined us a full-time member of our welding team in June 2009.
"Over the years, we enjoyed watching him grow into a confident and valued employee of Oakley. Adam always had a smile, was polite, well-mannered and always ready to lend a hand when needed. He was very good at his job and was the sort of guy the country needs."
Tributes at the roadside included flowers, messages and a framed photograph of Adam.
A message from Adam's younger brother Luke read: "Best brother in the world. Hope you're looking down at me."
About 15 firefighters from Hertford and Ware used cutting equipment to free Adam and Mat and the East Anglian Ambulance Service helicopter airlifted Mat to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridgeshire, but police confirmed on Thursday he had died overnight.
Published in the Herts & Essex Observer on Mar. 12, 2012