Accountant Clayton adds big sum to mental health charity coffers

A young accountant has doubled his fundraising target for the mental health charity MIND after calling time on alcohol throughout 2020, with help from his friends and colleagues at The County Group in Crewe.

When Clayton Hodge, 22, raised a glass to welcome in New Year 2020, little did he or indeed the world know of the pandemic challenges that lay ahead.

With great willpower and determination he has raised over £2,500 for the charity after saying ‘no thanks’ all year to his favourite bevvy even while out with friends in the summer when restrictions were lifted.

Clayton, who is training as an accountant at the insurance company on Crewe business park, was sponsored by family, friends and work friends to raise money for MIND as well as awareness of how it supports people with mental health issues.

He said: “I never had a drink problem but was spending a lot when I went to the football and for a drink afterwards. So for 2020 I vowed not to consume any alcohol and get friends to sponsor me.

“At first it was hard and my friends would pull my leg but then Covid came along and all the stress it created put mental health in the news every night. It became a small sacrifice to make.

“There were some tough times like when we were allowed to mix with six people and my friends were drinking my favourite cider in the sunshine at The Cat in Nantwich. I had to leave the pub!

“After a while though it became second nature and they gave me tremendous support as did The County Group who also donated to the fundraising total. And there were benefits for me. I have saved money and feel much fitter.”

And even an Aspinalls blackcurrant cider, his favourite tipple, no longer holds an allure. “When it came to New Year I had a lager and hardly anything since,” said Clayton from Coppenhall.

The County Group, which employs more than 70 people at its base on Crewe Business Park, regularly supports their charity efforts.

Alastair Christopherson, Group Managing Director said: “We get behind colleagues whether it’s their sponsored runs, sky dive or buying their cakes in the office. Clayton began his journey just before the coronavirus crisis started and has shown incredible determination to stay the course. We’re all very proud of him.

“With most now working from home we have continued our ‘open door’ policy where they can chat to a manager about any issue on the phone or online.

“We check in just to say ‘hello, how you doing’ and have supported working from home with equipment. As soon as we can we will celebrate the end of the crisis together.”