IT WAS perfect weather for ducks over the Bank Holiday.
But the rain failed to dampen the spirits of those who turned out to watch Stratford Rotary’s first ever Shakespeare Duck Race on Saturday (August 27).
The event got off to a dry start with a performance by a group of dancing ducklings from the Mezzo Dance Company.
They were joined by Lynell Adams – a visitor from Vancouver – who had read about the event in the Stratford Observer and composed her own duck song.
The race was started by Mayor Juliet Short and 1,000 ducks were tipped into Lucy’s Mill Weir. Bill, the race mascot, soon found his way to the front of the flock and led the flotilla of ducks all the way to the finish line, crossing it first.
Hot on the heels of Bill were the corporate ducks with Stratford Alehouse’s Postman Duck being declared the winning corporate duck.
Then as the rain began to pour a flurry of ducks arrived at the finish line to a crescendo of thunder and lightning.
The event was organised by Stratford Rotary’s satellite evening group and all proceeds will go towards The Shakespeare Hospice’s Children and Young People’s Services.
First place was shared by Daniel Turoczy’s duck and Sue Williams, who donated her £150 prize pot to the Shottery-based hospice.
Morris Birch secured second alongside Janet Palmer and followed in Sue’s lead – giving his £100 winnings to the charity.
John Rees, project leader, said: “The group wanted to create a fun event we could build on over the coming years.
“We were delighted with how the day went, despite the rain, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the people of Stratford who embraced the spirit of the race.
“We couldn’t have staged the event without the support of Stratford Boat Club and it was a huge bonus having Lynell too – she’s an enthusiastic and vivacious lady, who volunteered her time and talents to be with us on the day. “
Lynell was visiting her brother in Shipston when she first stumbled across the article in the paper.
She said: “Whenever I travel to a new place, the first thing I do is pick up a local paper as it gives you so much information.
“I’m familiar with rotary through the work they do in my home town – they have their own duck race, which raises thousands of dollars for local causes. I’ve have sung at it several times and I love to volunteer at all sorts of events back home.
“In fact, I have come to be known as the unofficial cheerleader of good causes, dispensing smile therapy to all!”