A WELL known publican who committed to a teetotal year on the day he became the new owner of a popular brewery has raised thousands of pounds for baby charities.
Scott McKenzie and his wife Kirsty, from Ulverston, welcomed baby twins Elodie and Brielle to the world at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary in 2017.
Born five weeks early following a successful round of IVF, the little girls were healthy, but tiny, requiring a nine day stay in the hospital’s neonatal unit.
Now, thanks to Scott’s self-imposed no drinking marathon, the couple have been able to fund the purchase of a crucial Vapotherm for the hospital ward – a sophisticated machine that will help deliver oxygen to babies who need extra care.
Kirsty said: “I had pre-eclampsia so Elodie and Brielle were born at 35 weeks.
“They were both healthy babies, fortunately. They were just small so we stayed in the neonatal ward for nine days before coming home.
“The support we had from the whole team was amazing. It felt like we had an extended family around us so we knew we wanted to do something to say thank you.
“We are over the moon that we’ve raised enough to buy a new Vapotherm for the unit.
“Our girls didn’t need oxygen, but many babies do and we know this will be well used on the ward.”
Scott and Kirsty run Lakeland Inns, a family firm based in Ulverston. It includes The Sun Inn, The Black Cock at Broughton and The Commodore in Grange.
They purchased Stringers Brewery in September which supplies pubs across the North West with a range of craft beers.
It was on this day that Scott began his extraordinary challenge. No alcohol for a full 12 months.
The feat has been a tough test for Scott, 42, who has not yet been able to taste his own range of beers which are among the region’s most popular.
Friends, family and customers across the area have stepped forward with generous sponsorship, nearly doubling Scott’s initial target of £2,000.
With the purchase of the Vapotherm secured, any extra money raised until September this year will now go to Bliss – the charity for babies born prematurely or sick – in memory of a friends son, Isaac Jude McGoff – who died last year.
For Kirsty and Scott, both causes are close to their hearts.
Scott said: “It’s been a tough challenge because I would have loved to have been able to try the beers from Stringers and to enjoy a drink to celebrate events and milestones with friends and family.
“It’s been worth it though, because we’ve raised far more than our original target to buy the Vapotherm unit for the neonatal ward with some extra for Bliss.”
Kirsty added: “Our girls are the absolute light of our lives.
“I’m incredibly proud of Scott for raising so much money. We will always be grateful for the help and support we had on the neonatal unit at RLI, as well as all the sponsorship people have put forward.”
Judith Read, charity manager of the Bay Hospitals Charity, an organisation that raises money for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said Kirsty and Scott’s fundraising effort had made a huge difference.
“I would like to offer my grateful thanks to Kirsty and Scott for the support they have given to Bay Hospitals Charity for the neonatal unit.
“It is such a lovely gesture when parents who have experienced wonderful care on the unit then go on to raise funds in order to give something back.
“Thanks to this amazing donation we were able to purchase a Vapotherm which will be used to provide respiratory support to our neonates.”