A RETIRED plumber is going teetotal to inject much-needed cash into cancer research.

Michael Drayton, 64, said he decided to take on the month-long Dryathlon challenge, both to fund the charity’s lifesaving work and in memory of his brother-in-law, who lost his battle with cancer in March last year.

Michael, of Lister’s Hill, Ilminster, said the hardest part is going to be cutting out the temptation to pick up a glass of his favourite red wine.

He told the News: “I just thought I would give it a go because all the money goes towards research and my daughter, who works for the charity, said there are lots of promising things coming through.

“My friends would tell you that I am partial to a drop of red wine so giving that up will be a bit of a wrench for me.”

Every hour, more than three people are diagnosed with cancer in the South-West, according to Cancer Research UK.

Last year, across our region, 2,000 people signed up to the challenge, helping too raise £155,561.

Dryathlon challenges those with enough willpower to drop the drink and people can get sponsored by family, friends and work colleagues or simply donate the money they save by going dry during January.

But, for those who find the sobering thought of four weeks off the sauce too daunting, there’s the ‘tipple tax’ which allows the Dryathlete to donate a £20 penalty to compensate for falling off the wagon.

Michael, who is a keen skittler, said it was strange not being able to have a drink while cheering on his beloved team at the Royal Oak in Ilminster.

He said: “I can’t play at the moment anyway because of my knee so I was giving the team a bit of stick.

“I think I’m going to find it hard when I go to social events or out for a meal somewhere because that is when it is tempting to have a drink.”

Michael has raised £170 so far towards his £500 target. If you would like to sponsor Michael, call 01460-53855 or visit www.justgiving.com/mike-Drayton-dryathlete.

Or you can still take part in the challenge for the rest of the month by visiting www.dryathlon.org