Belfast Telegraph

Could you drink just water for a whole year? Fundraiser inspired by a trip to Africa spurns all other liquids

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

Could you go through an entire year drinking nothing but water?

No alcohol, fizzy drinks, not even a nice cuppa.

One Antrim man is feeling fitter and healthier after he did just that – all in the name of charity.

Rick Hill, a Carnmoney Presbyterian Church youth worker, has just completed a year-long fundraising challenge to drink nothing other than water during 2013.

Inspired by a 2012 trip to Uganda, where he witnessed extreme poverty and a lack of basic water facilities, Rick has raised more than £1,500 for the Stand By Me charity.

Rick told the Belfast Telegraph he missed pure orange juice with breakfast. He also said the arrival of fatherhood in May would have been helped by a caffeine-fuelled tea or coffee.

He said: "I had travelled to Africa a few years ago with some young people and we found fizzy drinks kept us going in the heat. They were very cheap to us but they were a luxury the children we were helping could not afford, so it got me thinking."

Rick loved the thought of the health benefits of water, as well as raising funds for Stand By Me.

"On extra reflection the most difficult part of the challenge was actually the first two months," he said. "I wouldn't drink too much alcohol any way, but it occasionally got awkward in social situations when I was standing having a big pint of water."

Rick ended his ban on New Year's Day with a sip of Champagne and a can of Coca-Cola.

"The first sip or two of Coke went to my head," he said.

"I had to take a seat!"

BACKGROUND

Stand By Me (previously Kids Alive) is a charity caring for more than 3,000 children in the world's poorest countries. Through its homes, schools and care centres it helps transform the lives of vulnerable children.

H2O ... it really is a winning formula as far as health goes

Drinking fresh, clean water has plenty of health benefits and most people report improvements in energy levels and general wellbeing when they up their intake.

Rick not only increased his hydration levels, but probably dramatically cut his sugar intake last year too. It is suggested most adults should be drinking around one-and-a-half litres a day.

That's six-to-eight average-sized glasses.

Water is needed by every cell in your body. Some of its functions include carrying vitamins C and B; removal of waste from cells; temperature regulation, and as a lubricant for joints, digestion and lungs.

To help keep your levels topped up, try these ideas:

  • Set a bottle on your desk and sip throughout the day
  • Every time you put the kettle on, fill half your cup with water and drink it while you wait for your kettle to boil
  • Swap a couple of your cups of coffee or tea for herbal teas, which count towards your daily quota
  • Fill a jug with sliced oranges, lemons or limes and set on the table at mealtimes

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