Councillors caught in a national frenzy over an internet drinking phenomenon have defended their actions.
County Coun. Paul White and Coun. Jennifer Purcell have faced criticism this week after taking part in an online game called Neknomination.
They argue that they took part in the craze, which involves downing a pint of alcohol and nominating someone else to do the same, before it became a huge talking point in the national press.
And while there have been reports of drinkers taking the game to the extreme, they insist that their participation was not dangerous and was of a responsible nature.
In County Coun. White’s case he was caught on camera drinking a pint of beer out of a tankard, while paying homage to Britishness. He was filmed next to a giant teddy bear, with a Union Jack flag, while Rule Britannia was playing.
He said: “People complain that politicians are out of touch. I’m just a normal Colner, here to represent the people of our area.
“I am absolutely clear that nothing I did was dangerous, and I even put on there that people taking part should do so responsibly. Would I do it now it has got out of hand? Certainly not.
“What it has taught me is that there are people out there who will take what is on my social media pages, and send it to the national press. It’s a shame they haven’t covered some of the thousands of pounds Jennifer and I have raised in the past year for charity.”
Instructions for Neknomination online state “Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don’t break the chain... The social drinking game for social media! #neknominate. Drink Responsible”.”
The deaths of two young people in Ireland have now been linked to the internet trend, leading Coun. Purcell to agree with a public outcry that “it should stop now”.
She said: “The national press reported we were taking part in a ‘highly controversial’ game.
“I want to make it clear that when Paul and I made these videos, there was no controversy. It has got out hand since then, but at the time it was a bit of fun.
“Every day across Pendle people have a pint. That isn’t out of hand. But the way it has spread into a competition of what people can drink, and where they can drink it, has gone way too far and it should stop now.”