‘Dryathletes’ raise $3,000 for charities

A group of friends raised $3,000 for three good causes after they gave up drinking for a month.

The 12-strong team of “dryathletes” laid off alcohol for January and paid to join the team — with extra penalties for backsliders — and split the cash they raised three ways between the Bermuda Diabetes Association, The Reading Clinic and the Beyond Rugby youth sports programme.

Debbie Jones, the chairwoman of the Bermuda Diabetes Association, said the money would assist the charity with a move to new and bigger headquarters.

She added; “It was totally unexpected and totally wonderful.

“We are renovating a building on the corner of Princess and Dundonald streets.

“It is the first time in 41 years we will have a diabetes specific pharmacy and a teaching area with a kitchen where we can teach cooking.”

She was speaking as the dryathlon team handed over the cheques last Friday at Marcus’ restaurant at the Hamilton Princess&Beach Club.

Carolyn Brown, a reading programme assistant at The Reading Clinic, said: “We constantly have a waiting list of students, so the more help we can get, the more students we can see.

“It’s extremely important to the students we get to see because we strive to arm them with the skills they can use to function at the same level as their peers.”

Gemma Godfrey, the vice-president of the Bermuda Rugby Football Union and a backer of Beyond Rugby, which promotes the sport to youngsters, especially ones at risk, said: “It’s a really important programme — it helps to engage young people, particularly at risk young people through sport and physical activity.

“One of the integral things about Beyond Rugby is we really work with pupils — we provide support programmes to create a structure and environment where they can thrive.

“That might be support with homework or working with their teachers and their parents.”

Major Ben Beasley, the acting Commanding Officer of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, said it was the fourth time the group had taken the pledge for January — and had notched up a record amount of cash raised.

He added: “It’s great to combine a personal challenge with charity. A lot of people do dry January, but what we do encourages us to stick at it because it is for charity.”

Major Beasley said: “If anyone doesn’t stick to it, there are fines, so the charities win all round — and it’s a bit of fun.”

He added that the charities were chosen because they were all organisations where “a relatively small amount will have a reasonable impact”.

Major Beasley said: “They all make a huge difference to people’s lives and transcend all demographic groups.”

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