Weekend revellers enjoy mocktails as part of a Driday pub crawl in Darlington

IT wasn’t just the designated drivers enjoying soft drinks in pubs on Friday 17 January 2014.

A pub crawl with a difference saw revellers start their weekends with mocktails rather than cocktails as Driday got underway in Darlington.

The town’s council worked with Pubwatch to organise the alcohol-free night out to support Balance and Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign, which encourages people to give up boozing for a month. Pub-goers included Durham’s Police Chief and Crime Commissioner Ron Hogg and representatives from Pub Watch, the police and the council.

Fourteen pubs across the town took part in the initiative, offering up creative menus featuring an elaborate array of soft drinks. On offer in Hoskins was the Red Ripper, a mocktail made up of tomato juice, lemonade, Tabasco and Worcester sauce while Harvey’s Pink Mojito featured a mix of mint leaves, non-alcoholic grenadine, raspberries, sugar syrup and lime wedges.

Sergeant Mick Urwin, who works with Durham Constabulary’s alcohol harm reduction unit, tweeted throughout the event. He finished his evening by posting: “Great night had by all, a big thank you to all who turned out showing you can have a laugh and a good night without alcohol.”

Councillor Andy Scott, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and partnerships, encouraged people to get behind Dry January. He said: “We are seeing a significant increase in people young and old who are suffering ill health through alcohol abuse. “Dry January is your opportunity to take stock and see if you able to go without alcohol for this short time. “Your health, your weight and your wallet may just thank you for it.”

Story and Photograph courtesy of The Northern Echo (www.thenorthernecho.co.uk)

Image from left, Judith Wilkinson of Durham police, Vice Chair of Pub Watch Neil Hamilton and Julie Richings of Darlington council enjoy a non-alcoholic drink in the town’s Three Crowns as part of a ‘Dry January’ pub crawl