Duck Race 2012

The 14th Annual Duck Race organised each year by the Rotary Club of Canterbury took place at the end of June in the Westgate Gardens, Canterbury.  Weather conditions were perfect for the occasion with a slight following breeze and plenty of sunshine.


click on any image to enlarge 

Even the President (left) has to get out and "sell" Ducks!

Rotarians had been busy over the previous weeks taking every possible opportunity in the Centre of Canterbury and in local supermarkets to find sponsors for the ducks - so that on the day, 3,750 bright yellow ducks were thrown in to the swift-flowing waters of the River Stour from the bridge at Toddlers Cove.  A sight to be seen – as each duck fought against the currents and the weeds to get to the front along the quarter-mile stretch.

The team assembles on the day

Ducks all go in (at the same time) 

Rotarians and members of the local life-saving teams were on hand to help the participants (!) and to ensure that no spectators became too enthusiastic and fell in to the water!

Many hopes were dashed on the way, as early winners foundered on the beds of river weed or got caught up in the overhang of the river banks. The route posed a bit of a challenge to some of the “participants” who had also to negotiate their way around ducks of the local “we were here first” variety and even a river punt, but eventually a clear winner emerged.  

the real ducks look on with interest

here they come down the river Stour

A lot of the fun of the day was in watching the very smoothly-run operation of herding up the stragglers and those who had “retired” to the river banks as well as in scooping up all those who had eventually made it to the finishing line.  It was evident that many a Canterbury Rotarian simply enjoyed messing about ‘in’ the river!

waiting in the wet (what a figure!)

retrieving the remaining ducks

scooping them out is very wet and heavy work 

Tony Pratt wins the Corporate Duck Prize  for Canterbury Auction Galleries

There were two categories of racers – those sponsored by individuals at a cost of £1  and corporate ducks sponsored by local businesses @ £25.  The eventual winning duck was sponsored by Barry Rice, who won £250, and the corporate race was won by Tony Pratt of the Canterbury Auction Galleries who was rewarded with six bottles of Champagne.

The event raised nearly £6,000 for the Rotary Club, funds which will be distributed to charities selected by the Club in the coming year.... and as for the ducks, they retire to their “hibernation” until 2013.




Thursday 1st January 1970

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

⇐ Back to Archives