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Saturday 11th July saw Crickhowell Rotary Club’s latest attempt to realise their dream of turning the Annual Duck Race into the Rotary Family Fun Day.


Moving the event from Easter to summer certainly improved the chances of good weather, and good weather reduced the likelihood of their ducks being washed away by high spring rainfall turning the River Usk into a deluge. This year was certainly a fun day and there were lots of families there too. Perhaps their dream has come true.

A combination of things made it such a good day. Local enthusiasm for a bit of fun added to a warm dry day and mixed with the ridiculous idea of 2300 plastic ducks racing to be the first to reach the town bridge got the families out.

Rotary members Jeff Bull and Allan Jones have badgered bullied and bribed all their local contacts to takes their wares to the Bull Pit Meadow for the event. Other members fed the hungry hordes with locally produced burgers and hot dogs whilst their wives encouraged them to take the weight off their feet for a cuppa and a piece of cake. The football club had people kicking footballs through hoops; the rugby club had the same people passing balls into the dragon’s mouth and the fly fishing club had people fiddling with their flies. The ladies from the local branch of Cancer Research filled the little ones with sticky sweets and all the while model aircraft looped the loop above their heads.


When it came to the launch of the ducks however the attractions on the field were left as punters gathered on the bank of the river to cheer on their duck. We have seen images in the press these last few days of Rotarian Michael O’Leary conducting training camps for the ducks, it seems to have worked. From the off some of the little yellow ones made a dash for the best river currents though a foul was called when one enthusiastic but confused duck owner encouraged his duck with real currants (and raisins & sultanas).


One attraction did however hold the possibility of overshadowing the duck race; the Dog Show. All interest in the winning duck was lost when Gnasher, Rover, Scooby and Pongo made their entrances into the arena; it had possibly the largest gathering of the day. Prizes were awarded for obedience, good looks and waggy tails and there were plenty there to be judged.

Also on show was a hint at the real purpose of the event, to raise funds for Rotary charities. The Rotary ‘Shelter Box’ appeal provides equipment all held in a very large plastic box and designed to sustain a family made homeless by disaster. The large white tent which met people entering the Bullpit Meadow had inside it a display of the other items that are found in the box including a wood-burning stove, tools, blankets and colouring books and crayons for children. The Crickhowell club has recently sent two of these to Nepal at over £500 each. It is hoped that the event will increase the club’s coffers by up to £2000 of which a lot will also be spent on local needs. “You can help a lot of people with money like that” said Jeff and that’s what will make all the effort worthwhile. Meanwhile Michael is talking to some of the slower ducks about training harder for next year’s event.

DUCK-RACE-(8-of-8) DUCK-RACE-(5-of-8)

Tim Jones


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