DRINKERS across the region are being challenged to lay off the booze for a month to raise money for Cancer Research UK as part of its latest fundraising campaign, Dryathlon.

People are being asked to pledge now to give up alcohol in January and raise money for vital cancer  research.

Every hour, around two people are diagnosed with the disease in the North-East.

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So those who are man – or woman - enough to drop the drink will be encouraged to get sponsored by family, friends and work colleagues.

Or they can simply donate the money they save by going dry during January.

According to a Cancer Research UK survey, the ladies will be more successful at kicking the booze for a month than the blokes - with over two fifths (45 per cent) of respondents saying women had more self-discipline when it comes to staying on the wagon compared to just seven per cent for men.

For those who don’t feel they can commit to the full four weeks there’s the opportunity to purchase a Golden Pass, for a suggested £15 donation, which allows the owner to take 24 hours off – particularly helpful for weddings, birthdays or those who just fancy a big night out.

Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North East, said: “We wanted to explore the concept of willpower as we launch Dryathlon because we know that getting North-East folk to go dry for January is going to be a challenge for some, and it will take an element of willpower to succeed."

To sign up visit cruk.org/Dryathlon or follow on Twitter @Dryathlon and Facebook facebook.com/Dryathlon