Month without alcohol for city councillor

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The city councillor in charge of a committee which oversees pubs in Lancaster has come through a month without alcohol.

Coun Paul Aitchison, chairman of the city’s licensing committee, which oversees pubs and other licensed premises, spent the whole of January on a sponsored post-Christmas abstention from alcohol.

Coun Aitchison, who is the Labour representative of the University ward, the city’s Champion for Young People and the youngest member of the city council, has raised around £200 in the process.

The money will go to national charity Alcohol Concern.

“We had an alcohol awareness week before Christmas and after that I decided to raise some money for Alcohol Concern, which does a lot to educate the public and support families, especially children, who have been affected by alcohol problems within their family,” said Coun Aitchison, who is 20 and in the third year of a history and politics degree.

“I stopped just before New Year so I couldn’t even have a celebratory glass of champagne,” he said.

“If I went out to the pub I had lemonade or non-alcoholic beer. It was weird going to the Sugarhouse and not drinking.

“It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be though, and I had a celebratory night out at the end.

“I was ill for the first few weeks of the new year but I think on the whole I did feel better for it, and I am drinking less now than I used to.”

Coun Aitchison added: “I don’t think people believed that I would be able to achieve it.

“Some of the councillors joked about it because of me being the chair of the licensing committee, and a few didn’t believe I was going to do it.”