Tea and cakes for Dry Hatter’s tea party

Tea and cakes for Dry Hatter’s tea party

27th January 2015


A TOWN celebrated with tea and cakes yesterday the success of an initiative designed to combat some of the devastating effects of alcohol.

Darlington College hosted a Dry Hatter’s tea party to mark the end of a month-long campaign to abstain from drink.

Darlington is leading the way in a national campaign aiming to raise awareness about the costs to society of drinking too much.

Last year Darlington Council was presented with the Dry January Award of the Year for its efforts in backing the health enterprise.

Catering students staged a special dry tea at Darlington College’s Glasshouse restaurant marking the culmination of this year’s campaign, which is backed by Balance and Alcohol Concern.

Coun Andy Scott, who holds the portfolio for health and partnerships, said:  “The campaign is designed for us all to think about our alcohol consumption and our habits, so we can take stock of what we are doing, as alcohol can be very damaging.”

He said chronic illnesses were at their highest level with many being associated with excess alcohol consumption.

“People in their 20s are now developing liver disease and A&E is under severe pressure exacerbated by Friday and Saturday night drunkenness,” he said.

“Alcohol remains a feature of domestic abuse and the cost to the NHS cannot be sustained. This is the second year of the initiative and I do believe it is now lodged in people’s psyche.”

His views were echoed by recovering alcoholic Simon Pearson, who now works with NECA and Narcotics Anonymous.

“Hopefully my story will help save lives,” said Sunderland-born Simon, who lost his family, job and lifestyle to alcohol, ending up in a bedsit in Redcar.

“I had 50 stints in James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, and I despised my life,” the 39-year-old said. “I thought about suicide but didn’t have the guts – death seemed like a good option.

“I ended up in a grotty bedsit watching endless TV with a bottle of cider and a pack of tobacco. I’d had everything – a wife, a child, a good job, a house and nice car – and lost it all.

“But I am now in recovery and work in the field which has become a true vocation. Things are really looking up with recovery in Darlington and we are helping a lot of people get well.”

Darlington College principal Kate Roe said she was delighted to host the dry celebration.

“The campaign has revealed some incredibly powerful messages for all of us regardless of age and backgrounds,” she said.

“The impact of alcohol can be insidious so it is good that our students have been part of a public health campaign that makes us all think.”

News in January