Smiles as Duck Derby returns to River Thames in Maidenhead

The long-running Maidenhead Lions Duck Derby fundraiser returned to Boulters Lock for an afternoon of fun by the river.

Carrying on a tradition dating back more than 40 years, Ray Mill Island was a hub of activity on Sunday as crowds browsed stalls and enjoyed games next to the River Thames.

The event was held in September last year due to the pandemic but made its spring comeback to the delight of visitors at the weekend.

The town’s MP Theresa May was in attendance and even rode on the Lions’ popular fun train, while the Royal Borough mayor, Cllr Christine Bateson, also dropped by to the event.

Activities included face painting, music and balloon modelling, while there was also a draw for a luxury hamper.

Other organisations including Manor Green School PTA, Wild Maidenhead and the DASH charity were in attendance on the day to talk to crowds and showcase their work.

The much-anticipated duck race saw the Maidenhead Sea Cadets release the ducks downstream, with cash prizes on offer for holders of tickets for the first three ducks which crossed the finish line, with those caught up in banks recovered by the Cadets.

Cllr Bateson signalled the start of the race with a blast of an air horn before 3,000 rubber ducks floated along the Thames.

Jo Manisier, member of the Duck Derby committee and Maidenhead Lions Club, said: “It was fabulous to be back running the Duck Derby in the summer and be a part of an event which was so well supported by the local community, with everyone having a good time and enjoying themselves.

“The Duck Derby committee is delighted that the event was so popular and enjoyed by so many people.”

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