An alcohol education charity has warned of the dangers of a new drinking game craze after a man from north Essex died on Sunday.

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It has been widely reported that Isaac Richardson from Tolleshunt Knights, near Colchester, became the first British victim of the so-called ‘NekNominate’ game after downing a lethal concoction of wine and spirits.

NekNominate involves people posting videos of their drinking stunts on social media sites before challenging others to do the same.

Former Colchester Royal Grammar School pupil, Mr Richardson, 20, died after consuming the cocktail at a backpackers hostel in Woolwich, south London, where he was working part-time, according to reports.

He was taken to hospital but pronounced dead in the early hours of yesterday.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers were called to a hospital in south London at around 1.30am on Sunday to reports that a 20-year-old man had been declared dead. He said the death was being treated as unexplained and that the man’s relatives had been informed.

Today, a trustee of Essex-based alcohol education charity alcoHELP, spoke of the dangers of games like NetNominate.

He said: “This craze can result in acute alcoholic poisoning and can be fatal- as highlighted by the recent death of Isaac Richardson.

“Alcoholic poisoning results from rapid drinking, and this then raises the blood alcohol level so high that mental and physical functions can stop. Breathlessness, choking and erratic heart rhythms can result, quickly followed by loss of consciousness, coma and even death. In most cases alcoholic poisoning will result in the brain being permanently damaged.

He added: “Foolhardy crazes such as Neknomination will pass but it usually takes the loss of a life before this happens.”

According to reports, two people from Ireland have also died as a result of the craze but Mr Richardson is believed to be the first British casualty.

Ken Jenkinson, the headmaster of Colchester Royal Grammar School, where Mr Richardson studied until 2009, paid tribute.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of his death and send his family our heart-felt sympathies at this most difficult of times,” he said.

“Isaac is remembered at the school as being a very friendly, polite and well-liked pupil who was a positive member of the community. This tragic loss of a young life as a result of an internet craze highlights the dangers associated with so-called ‘games of dare’ and with alcohol abuse.

“We are desperately sorry to hear that Isaac was a victim of this highly dangerous activity, and we can only hope that others learn from this and do not put themselves at risk in this way.”

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