Alcohol campaign targets parents on 12 'Drinking' Days of Christmas

Wine drinker
Image caption The Violence Reduction Unit campaign focuses on Christmas drinking

A mother who missed her children's Christmas due to drinking is backing a parental alcohol awareness campaign by the Violence Reduction Unit.

Catherine Park missed one Christmas morning with a hangover and is urging parents to consider the effects of drinking on their children.

The campaign animation features a 12 'Drinking' Days of Christmas, sung by Lothian and Borders Police choir.

It is also supported by a campaign on the social network Twitter.

Mrs Park had her first drink at 15 and developed a drinking problem after she became a mother.

Following two weeks in the Abbeycare residential alcohol treatment centre in Ayrshire in 2005, she gave up alcohol completely and now works as an addiction support worker for Abbeycare.

Her approach to alcohol changed when she overslept on Christmas morning while her children were unwrapping their presents.

"I missed Christmas morning completely because of my drinking," said Mrs Park. "I didn't get up until 2pm because of a hangover.

"My daughters had tried to wake me but I'd been up until 5am wrapping their presents and drinking wine. The look on their faces was my wake up call - they were so upset and I felt ashamed."

She added: "During the festive period, it's easy to drink as much as you like."

The campaign's online animation delivers a message about how easy it can be to lose count of the amount you drink over the festive season by replacing the birds, rings, lords and ladies in The 12 Days of Christmas with alcoholic drinks.

The lyrics were rewritten by Lothian and Borders Police Choir for the campaign.

Andrew Russel, musical director for the choir, said: "It ends in a sad, minor key, so the message is clear."

Part and parcel

The campaign, which is launched as the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) hold their annual alcohol conference at the Hub in Edinburgh, also features a series of tips for parents and carers about alcohol and Christmas which will be Tweeted under the hashtag #12days via the VRU's Twitter feed (@vruscotland) throughout December.

Ch Insp Graham Goulden of the VRU emphasised the importance of parents educating their children about the effects of alcohol through their actions and encouraged people to have a sensible Christmas.

"Alcohol is often seen as part and parcel of Christmas celebrations, but it's important for parents to be positive role models for their children by drinking in moderation," said Ch Insp Goulden.

"We're not saying don't have a drink, what we are saying is have a sensible attitude to drinking - kids form their attitudes towards alcohol by observing how the adults around them behave around drink."

More on this story