Notorious drinking game transformed as Balham businesses carry out random acts of kindness


RAKNomination originated in South Africa.


By Li Hoang

A new trend nicknamed RAKNomination has made its way to Balham High Road.

Local businesses are encouraging each other to carry out random acts of kindness (RAK), by nominating each other to do some good.

The initiative is setting a positive example to young adults, as opposed to NekNomination, an internet drinking craze that challenges people to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol in a matter of minutes. So far, five deaths have been linked to the game.

Paul Ahearn from Samuel Estates, an estate agents in Wimbledon, started RAKNomination in the area, when he donated ‘two carloads’ of clothes to charity Faith in Action.  

“It’s all fine being an individual doing good. But every business has a part to play and survives because of the local community,” he said.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Ahearn was inspired by Brent Lindeque, a South African who turned the notorious drinking game into something different. 

After being nominated by a friend, Lindeque filmed himself feeding a homeless person, which has now gone viral on YouTube.

Carlie Welch, a nominee from Chadwick Butchers in Balham, said: “Being a butchers, we have a lot of leftover bones. Instead of going to Battersea Dog’s and Cat’s home, we wanted to do something local and go to Epsom Canine Rescue.”

They spent the day with the dogs in Reigate donating old towels and handing out blankets.

“Youth drinking is different now. In those days, we didn’t have Facebook or something to be stupid on,” she added.

RAKNomination has since set up a Facebook page attracting almost 25,000 likes with users posting their own acts.

Other businesses that have taken part included Harrison’s Restaurant in Balham, which is part owned by TV Presenter Rick Stein OBE. Restaurateur Sam Harrison cooked for 80 homeless people in Spires, Tooting.

Harrison’s have since nominated Vicky Stottard, of Independent Mind Body and Soul, a local beauty shop in Balham who has yet to complete the challenge.

Stottard plans to ‘give free treatments for the mothers’ at First Touch Charity at the neonatal unit in St.George’s Hospital.

“Everyone around the area is doing it, so why not!” she said.  

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