OPINIONS
GARY RHODES, chef: I can't remember my first alcoholic drink but I can remember the first time I got drunk. I was 13 and my friends and I were drinking Woodpecker cider at a party. I got so drunk my brother had to collect me. I got sick all over the first stereo I ever owned. I cook with cider but I can't drink it now.

JAMES BROWN, editor of Loaded magazine: Apart from staggering round parties with a bottle of cider, I can consciously remember the first time I went to the pub. I was 15 and had half a pint of cider in a pub called the Hyde Park in Leeds with a girl called Erica. I want you to put in that I'm PPA Editor of the Year.

CLARE SHORT, MP: I must have been 16 or 17 and I was doing my A-levels. I went to the pub with friends and I didn't have a clue about drinks. I asked for a half of mild because I thought it was. I didn't like it at all but I've made up for it since.

REDMOND O'HANLON, explorer and writer: I remember the first time I got drunk. I was on a retreat near Salisbury. I was 16. We'd all been terribly devout the whole day. In the evening we found a way out, went to a pub and got drunk. We couldn't find the way back in and a nun in a nightdress or maybe her habit let us in. I haven't been on a retreat since or become a Christian. It was a moment of conversion.

PENNY VINCENZI, novelist: I was 16 and my father thought I was old enough to have my first drink - a Gin and It. It was marvellous.

BRENDAN RYAN, marketing manager and ex-altar boy: I had my first drink when I was seven in the sacristy of my local church. I swigged the altar wine when no one was looking.

KEVIN SMITH GALLER, of the Alcohol Recovery Project: I was eight when I had my first drink. I was a bottle boy for an off-licence and I would slip bottles under the back fence of the shop. By the time I was 13 I had a drink problem. I played truant to go drinking in the woods, crying most of the time.

HARRY HILL, comedian: Never. I'm still waiting for a special occasion.

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