It’s the latest craze sweeping the internet – an online drinking challenge which sees people ‘neck’ a drink and then dare their friends to outdo them.
But when James Ashton was ‘Neck Nominated’ on Facebook, he decided to do some good instead.
Instead of downing a drink and performing an outrageous stunt, he and a friend dressed up as Disney characters and donated their own toys to the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit.
And the big-hearted lad from Eightlands plans to collect and donate toys to good causes every month this year.
James, a french polisher, said: “I knew I was going to get nominated as it was going round all my friends. I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this, I want to do something good.’”
The trend, which started on social media, has been linked to the deaths of five people in Britain and Ireland.
“It’s such a stupid thing,” said James, of Vulcan Gardens. James, 22, and Matthew Gildea, of Wilton, Batley, gathered up their own games consoles and toys belonging to James’ four-year-old cousin, borrowed Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes and jumped on the train to Leeds
“It was great,” said James. “People were stopping us every two minutes and kids were running up to us asking for pictures.”
The pair dropped off their goodies before making an appearance at the opening of James’ sister’s new cafe in Batley, The Gables.
“What the staff do at the hospital is amazing,” added James. “They don’t get enough credit. After we finished we thought it was the best thing we’ve ever done and that we need to do it again.”
A spokesman for the ward said: “This was a lovely gesture, and despite recent publicity about the negative side of Neknomination, James and Matthew showed that it’s possible to have fun, stay safe and also help other young people who aren’t quite so lucky as themselves.
“Hundreds of children spent time on the children’s heart ward at Leeds General infirmary every year and this generous donation will help staff keep them as entertained and happy as possible while they are spending time with us.”
James now plans to visit Martin House children’s hospice, Pinderfields Hospital, and possibly Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for a special Christmas donation.
He is holding a donation day on Sunday March 23 at the Joshua Brown School of Acting in Bradford Road. Search for Mickey Mouse’s Toy Donation on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate.