SARAH Bays admits she likes a glass of red wine every night. That’s why she’s taking on the Dry January challenge.

Essex County Council is urging people to kick off 2014 in a healthy style. It is joining Alcohol Concern’s campaign urging residents to stay alcohol- free.

Mrs Bays, 45, of Hall Road, in Tiptree, is not just going teetotal for her health, she is raising money for Cancer Research UK.

She said: “I’m a serious lover of wine, and know the quantity I was consuming was rather unhealthy.

“I was looking for something like this and it’s an added bonus it’s being run with Cancer Research UK.

“When you’re being sponsored to do something, it makes it more likely you’ll do it, so I’m determined.

“Most of my friends and family have been supportive. I dare say some don’t think I’ll do it, but I’m sure I will.”

Mrs Bays began her sponsored dryathlon at midnight on New Year’s Day. But it wasn’t as difficult as she thought.

She said: “My husband hasn’t been well, so I had no trouble stopping my wine at midnight, given I was actually in bed from 10pm.”

“I am happy to be starting the year healthier, hoping to lose some weight and get into the habit of drinking less in 2014 and beyond.

“But that's not to say I’m not looking forward to a glass of wine on February 1.”

Ann Naylor, county councillor for health and wellbeing, said: “Most people like to indulge in a tipple or two at Christmas and New Year, so January is the perfect time to recharge and make a fresh and healthy start to the year ahead.

“If you can take a break from alcohol, you could lose a little weight, have nicer skin, feel more energised and save money at the same time.”

To find out more, or to sign up, visit More information can also be found at or by following @dryjanuary on Twitter.

To sponsor Mrs Bays, visit