At the third time of asking this year the annual Great Swindon Duck Race on the River Ray at the Wootton Bassett Road – organised by the Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town – took place on Sunday 19 August.
The event had to be cancelled in May and then in July because of torrential rains had swollen the river to dangerous levels.
Last year’s President Trevor Embling, whose charity event this is, said, “ we're really pleased that, despite the drizzle, the weather held off and we were able to get the ducks into the river. We're delighted to be able to raise so much money for CALM who are a marvellous organisation, doing so much to support Swindon families who have been touched by childhood cancer and leukaemia."
Chris Firth, this year's President and main race organiser said the £10,000 from the day will meet the cost of restoring the well and creating a seating area in the newly restored walled garden at Lydiard Park. "We raised £4,000 from selling drakes to Swindon companies and £6,000 from ducks to individuals at £1 each. The Rotary Club Old Town have agreed to contribute £1,000 to meet the total cost of the project.
"We have had enormous support from CALM members who have sold so many ducks; their enthusiasm is tremendous. We have already agreed to make CALM our major charity next year and provide them with the proceeds of the duck race."
CALM is entirely run by volunteer families who have children who have had cancer or leukaemia, are receiving treatement, or have died from the disease. All money raise goes to supporting families; no money is spent on administration.
CALM member Richard Crowley said, "we've been trying to find a suitable place in the town where families can go for solace and support, reflect on loss of a loved one, or hope for the future. The Lydiard setting is perfect, families love going there to walk in the park, visit the house or play on the equipment – and Rotary members have made this possible. We're very thankful for their effort."
CALM chairwoman Mary Kitchener is delighted that the partnership with Rotary Club of Old Town is to continue next year. "We're really over the moon that we're going to be working together again. The club have made our dream come true."
The duck race was sponsored by Nationwide which has ensured that all the money raised will be able to go to the CALM well of contemplation at Lydiard Park.
Pictured top, immediate past Rotary Club of Old Town president Trevor Embling, fetchingly dressed against the cold on 19 August.
Second, from top, getting the ducks ready for the race, from left, CALM members, Mary Kitchener, Marianne and Richard Crowley, Rotary members Trevor Embling, Chris Hext, Stuart Bell
Third, nearing the end of the race on the River Ray
Bottom, Trevor Embling with CALM members Jackie Lambeth and Sam Jarvis at the well of contemplating in Lydiard's walled garden