A BARMAID and her friends ditched the booze for a month to help raise money for a cancer charity.

Ashleigh Bugg and three pals signed up to Macmillan Cancer Support’s Sober October campaign.

The 28-year-old, who works at the Royal Mortar pub in Military Road, Colchester, had already completed the challenge last year and was inspired to go alcohol free once again.

She teamed up with Emma Greenhill, barmaid at the Ale House, Sophie Hart of Hair 277 and Janine Edwards of the Red Lion Hotel.

Ashleigh said: “Last year I did sober October and with sponsors from all the customers raised £1,839.

“This year, I managed to convince three of my closest friends to do it with me.

“The first time I did it one my own it was because my daughter Addison’s step mum Dhneep had got cancer. She was only 24 when she got it and she was severely ill.”

Ashleigh said taking part in the challenge was her way of giving something back.

She said: “As a group we went four weeks and six days sober working in drinking environments for Macmillan.

“We have raised an amazing £2,292 with more than £100 in sponsorship still to collect.

“I am extremely proud of my best friends as Macmillan will benefit from this large sum hugely.

“I am even more proud of the customers of the Royal Mortar who again gave so generously again.”

And it wasn’t always easy for Ashleigh, a psychology and sociology student, to stick to the task.

“I had my first assessment to hand in and I passed, then I wanted to raise a glass but I couldn’t,” she said.

“It was really hard.”

The women ended their month of being sober and celebrated their success with a party at the pub.

Ashleigh said she hopes to continuing her fundraising efforts for Macmillan next year.