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Chester duck race raises quacking £20,000 for hospital baby unit

Fast flowing river saw corporate duck race cancelled but spirits were not dampened

 

More than £20,000 was raised towards a good cause when people went quackers by the River Dee on Saturday.

Hundreds gathered at The Groves in Chester to take part in the fifth annual duck race with proceeds towards the Countess of Chester Hospital’s £2.4m Babygrow Appeal to create a new neonatal unit.

Fundraisers are confident the target will be reached by December.

Leonie Perry from Liquor and Co with their 'Facebook Favourite' duck and Sarah Callander Beckett, the judge and High Sheriff of Cheshire. Picture: Mark Carr/ Vaadhoo limited(Image: PUBLICITY PIC)

Members of the public paid £2 each for the 5,000 brightly-coloured baby ducks – every one featuring a unique number – that raced after being released from Queen’s Park suspension bridge.

Companies sponsored the larger decorated ducks for £200 each but unfortunately they were unable to race this year on health and safety grounds.

The corporate ducks require people in the water to guide them on their way but very high river levels and a faster than normal flow meant it was not safe to proceed.

However, the ducks went on display to be judged according to various criteria and competition was fierce.

Best Dressed duck was won by AGA Knutsford with Agatha. Picture: Mark Carr/ Vaadhoo limited(Image: PUBLICITY PIC)

Handelsbanken turned theirs into a piggy bank, Bar Lounge transformed their entry into a Highland cow and The Chester Grosvenor duck was a blushing bride.

Sarah Callander Beckett, High Sheriff of Cheshire, accepted the difficult challenge of judging the decorated ducks.

Facebook Favourite was Liquor and Co with their intricately painted black duck by local artist Roxy Way. Allington Hughes Law scooped the Celebrity Duck award with a tribute to Manchester and an Ariana Grande duck.

Best Dressed was won by AGA Knutsford with Agatha.

Fastest Duck had to be decided through a draw with the victors being Jordan Halstead whose prize was a team building day with The Success Factory.

Fastest Duck had to be decided through a draw with the victors being Jordan Halstead. Picture: Mark Carr/ Vaadhoo limited(Image: PUBLICITY PIC)

Winners of the baby duck race, who took home £250, £150 and £100 respectively, thanks to sponsors Puddle Ducks, were: 1st (Pink 1698) Beryl Furnival, 2nd (Pink 494) Catherine Edwards and 3rd (Pink 53) Mrs Quayle.

Hanna Clarke, corporate and events fundraising manager for The Countess Charity, said: “This is the second year I have organised the annual Chester Duck Race - it is such fun and I can’t thank the Chester business community enough for getting behind such a fantastic event.

“Supporting an event such as the duck race through The Countess Charity is a great way to promote a business to the local community, the hospital community, engage with staff, your customer base and support a local charity at the same time.

Hundreds gathered to watch the the annual Chester Duck Race by The Groves. Picture: Mark Carr/ Vaadhoo limited(Image: PUBLICITY PIC)

"Thanks again to Hickory’s Smokehouse Chester, our sponsor, for their support and Puddle Ducks Chester, Wirral and North Wales for providing the baby duck prizes and for bringing ‘Puddle’ down on the day to meet everyone! And to all the companies who adopted and decorated a duck. This year’s efforts were unbelievable.”

She paid tribute to the many volunteers, Queen’s Park Rowing Club for their help and Cheshire West and Chester Council for supporting the event.

For more details on other events organised by The Countess Charity that your business can get involved with, please contact Hanna on 01244 366 397 or email: hannaclarke@nhs.net

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