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FebFasters prepare for alcohol-free long weekend

Release Date: 
Friday, February 3, 2012

People taking part in the New Zealand Drug Foundation’s FebFast fundraiser are facing the first big test of their resolve – a long weekend with lots of opportunities to socialise.

As well as events to mark Waitangi Day around the country, Wellingtonians have the added temptation of the Sevens Tournament on this weekend.

FebFast Coordinator Catherine Milburn says many people participating in FebFast will aim to get through the weekend without drinking alcohol.

“We know there’s a lot of people really determined to stay alcohol-free for the whole month as part of a personal challenge,” she says.

“But for people who have got something special on this weekend, like a wedding or a birthday or maybe they’re going to the Sevens, then there’s always the option of purchasing a Time Out from the FebFast website so they can enjoy a guilt-free drink.”

Auckland FebFaster Andrew Grear says his first few days of being alcohol-free have gone well, and he’s ready for the long weekend.

“I went out to the Comedy Club last night and sipped lemon, lime & bitters and coke all night. It was good. And I’ve got plenty of juice prepared and water chilling in the fridge.”

FebFast ambassador, performer and celebrant Pinky Agnew, will be officiating at a family friend’s wedding in Hawkes Bay this weekend.

“There will be lots of friends together, barbecues, all the usual social activities. Normally I’d enjoy a glass of wine but instead we’ve packed our iced tea to take with us. It’s about being prepared and taking what you’d like to drink to social events, rather than expecting others to provide this.

“Don’t deprive yourself either – splash out on buying something really nice to drink. Think about what you’d usually spend on alcohol, and buy a really good ginger beer, iced tea or elderflower cordial to cut with sparkling water. Drink something you enjoy – there’s no reason to feel that you’re missing out.”

A FebFaster commenting on FebFast’s facebook page says she’s prepared for the challenge.

“I have taken the alcohol down to the lock-up, rinsed out the dregs from the empties (like butts for smokers), and filled the fridge with sparkly water and the bench with lemons.”

Catherine Milburn says people can still sign up for FebFast.

“We’d love to have you join us in the FebFast challenge,” she says. “This is a fun, healthy thing to be involved in, and it’s all about supporting community organisations doing worthwhile work.”

People can register to participate in FebFast at or donate to a friend’s fundraising page. And for the price of a regular flat white coffee, they can also text FebFast to 5338 to make an instant $3 donation to FebFast.

FebFasters are raising money for four charities working with young people affected by drugs or alcohol. The four charities this year are: Evolve (Wellington), Rainbow Youth (Auckland), CareNZ (Waikato), and the ADHD Association (national).

It’s the second FebFast to be held in New Zealand, with last year’s event raising more than $100,000 for youth drug and alcohol organisations.

High profile ambassadors supporting FebFast 2012 include songwriter Maisey Rika, professional rugby player Scott Waldrom, Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup, comedian Guy Williams, performer Pinky Agnew, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, ZM radio host Polly Gillespie, The Edge radio hosts Jay-Jay Feeney and Dominic Harvey, Green Party