Duck derby draws crowds

FLEETS of rubber ducks went beak to tail down the River Sid for Sidmouth Rotary Club’s biggest annual fundraiser on Sunday.

The club’s Duck Derby drew crowds to the riverbank for children’s and mums’ and dads’ duck and spoon races, the corporate – red duck – race and the main event – the yellow duck race.

The main race raised �3,071. Devon Air Ambulance Trust received �1,500 toward the purchase of a new helicopter, and Brainwave, the Somerset charity for brain injured children, got �1,500. The remaining �71 will go towards Lions’ charity activities.

Since all the prizes were cash, the winners will be receiving their winnings shortly, by post if they live outside the Sid Valley. The winners of the children’s events – the duck picture competition, the duck and spoon Races and the Duck in the Window competition – received a chocolate duck with eggs. The picture and window competition winners also received a small cash prize.

Club vice-president and publicity officer Chris Rignall was pleased with how things went, saying it was better attended than it had been for the last few years.

“It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the river had filled up nicely,” he said. “Despite the rain, though, the ducks were quite slow moving.”

Members of Sidmouth’s ATC 2019 Squadron helped rescue any ducks that got stranded and Martin Clook from the ambulance trust and Paul Evans and Alison Penman from Brainwave watched the races.

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Mr Rignall said: “We would like to thank the hoteliers and publicans in the valley and also the management of Sidmouth’s Co-op and Lidl stores for allowing the Lions to sell tickets on their premises for the yellow duck race.

“A very big thank you must also go to residents and visitors who have supported us by buying the duck race tickets and coming to the Byes to support the events.”