Anthony Newman: Get off the booze for a while

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SO this is Christmas, a time when most of us will be enjoying a well-earned rest, perhaps by sipping a dram or two while we take in a festive television movie.

For some of us, Christmas Day is the climax of several weeks of fuzzy heads and hangovers at work following a series of festive parties.

Then, of course, we need our stamina for the drink-fest that is Hogmanay, as well as the first-footing in the days to follow.

So, what about looking forward to the good feeling of a few weeks supporting a great charitable cause, research into cancer, with the added benefits of a clear head and diminishing waistline due to a drink-free January? Sounds good, doesn’t it?

However, if you fear you might not be up to it, then there is a way that you could give your will power a boost – by signing up for Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon.

“Dryathletes” taking part in the challenge pledge to drop the drink for a month in the new year and either get sponsored or donate the money they would have spent on alcohol to the charity.

Supporters can register as individuals or set up a team and get their friends, family and colleagues involved to motivate each other along the way.

And for those who find the thought of four weeks completely off the sauce too daunting, then fear not, there’s the “tipple tax” which allows the Dryathlete to donate a £20 penalty to compensate for falling off the wagon.

Cancer Research UK launched Dryathlon, which is backed by former Hibs player and Celtic and Scotland skipper Scott Brown, for the first time last year. More than 33,500 people signed up and helped raise a fantastic £4 million to help beat cancer. By signing up now, you’ll be giving one of the most thoughtful Christmas presents you could.

In Edinburgh, the support we receive means we can invest £4m a year on some of the world’s leading scientific and clinical research, including cutting-edge work to understand how cancer spreads and becomes resistant to drugs.

We are all touched by this devastating disease in some way and so raising money to beat cancer sooner is a great incentive to switch on the kettle instead of reaching for the Rioja.

To sign up now and take on Dryathlon in January, visit

Anthony Newman is Cancer Research UK’s product marketing director