Derby’s most colourful duck race saw decorated giant plastic ducks take to the water in the city centre to raise £6,800 for a charity which helps local people living with sight loss.
The annual Ey Up Mi Duck Race is Sight Support Derbyshire’s biggest annual fundraiser. Hundreds of people lined the banks of the Derwent at Derby River Gardens on a sunny day to beat last year’s total of £5,200.
In the weeks leading up the race, teams from companies and organisations dressed their giant plastic ducks ready for the Best Dressed Duck Contest before the race, judged by the Mayor and Mayoress of Derby, Councillor Mike Carr and Mrs Cilla Carr. Members of the public could also sponsor one of 5,000 little ducks for £1 each.
Sight Support Derbyshire’s Fundraising Manager, Lynda Raven, said: “The ducks made the most of the good weather with a very leisurely race to show off their fine plumage. The standard of decoration was very high and there were a significant number of companies entering for the first time this year.
“We’re thrilled with the amount of money we raised, which will go towards funding our services for people in Derbyshire who are facing the everyday challenges of living with a visual impairment. We specialise in personal, face-to-face services to help blind and partially sighted adults and children be independent.
“Without the support of local businesses the day would not have been so successful, so we are very grateful to our main sponsor, TC Harrison Ford Derby, as well as the companies which donated prizes and items for sale on the day.”
The overall winner of the Best Dressed Duck was first-time entrant Stacey’s Bakery in Heanor, with Dinghy Duck. The Ilkeston-based baker donated cakes and Ey Up Mi Duck biscuits to sell at the race, and entered a duck from each of its four branches. They won a round of golf for four, courtesy of Breadsall Priory, and a bottle of champagne donated by Smith Partnership Solicitors.
Winners in six categories for Best Dressed Duck were each awarded a trophy. They were:
Small Business: Dinghy Duck, Stacey’s Bakery
Health and Wellbeing: The Wizard of Oz Ducks (Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion) by Richmond Village, Aston-on-Trent
Financial, Legal, Insurance and Corporate: Olympic Snowboarding Duck by FMC Phytone
Transport, Engineering and Construction: Duck Dastardly by Lubrizol
Individual: Ladybird Duck by Gordon Smith
In the race, Prince Harry Duck by Specsavers in Belper left his bride behind to take first place. The prize was bed and breakfast coutesy of the Holiday Inn, Derby Riverlights, and a box of chocolates donated by Thorntons.
The race spectators enjoyed stalls, children’s activities and visits from Rammie and Leonard the Lion from Gulliver’s Kingdom.
The ticket holder for the first little duck to finish won £250 cash sponsored by TC Harrison Ford, Derby.
After the race, all the ducks were recovered from the river by specialist team from Watersafe, and the giant ducks were reunited with their owners.