Former Worthing 1st XV rugby player, Ed Wilcock, is celebrating after successfully going booze free for a whole year, tripling his target and raising over £3,600 for the hospice who cared for his sister.
Ed, 58 from Worthing, decided to take on the challenge for St Barnabas House after returning home from a holiday in Norway with his old rugby friends.
“Being an ex-rugby player, alcohol has always played a big part in my social life”, says Ed. “Many people perform an annual ‘Dry January’ or ‘Stoptober’, but I decided to attempt a full twelve months, and felt such a big feat would be worthy of raising money for charity.
“My lovely sister, Marie, passed away seven years ago and was cared for so beautifully and respectfully by the amazing people at St Barnabas. They have also cared for a couple of good friends of mine in their last moments and their passion and devotion has been such a comfort in trying times. I could see no more deserving charity to raise money for.”
Ed initially set out to raise £1,000, but was shocked to find the support kept rolling in. His final fundraising total now stands at an incredible £3,604.50 – enough to pay for nine hours of all the care services provided by St Barnabas House, both at the hospice and in patients’ own homes.
Ed says, “I have been amazed by the overwhelming response. Not just from friends who know how much I like my beer and couldn’t believe I was going to give up for a year, but also from friends who have in some way been touched by the work St Barnabas do.”
The support from friends and family got Ed through several tempting moments throughout the year, including his 35th wedding anniversary, daughter’s 21st birthday, son’s graduation, Worthing Carnival, and not least a trip to Twickenham to watch the rugby.
However, he says, “the last couple of months have been the hardest with the end in sight. There were times when I would have given anything for a cold pint in the sunshine, but I stuck to my guns and ordered a soda and lime.”
“There is no question that waking up on a Saturday or Sunday morning with a clear head has been a revelation. I’ve also lost three and a half stone and saved a lot of money; going out for a beer is expensive these days.
“After the finish date, I experienced an incredible sense of achievement. The congratulations I have received have been so heart-warming.”
Ed has this message for anyone who might be thinking of taking on a similar challenge for charity:
“I would recommend going alcohol free to anyone. It is a bit of a mountain to climb and you have to keep believing in yourself, but the sense of achievement at the end is incredible. It has given me a new perspective on life, and I hope my story inspires someone to realise they can accomplish anything should they put their mind to it. To raise funds for such a wonderful charity has been very humbling.”