Ducks get a nudge to the finish line in Bungay
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Almost 400 people flocked to Falcon Meadow on Sunday for Bungay’s first festival duck race, although the crowd movement was the only thing which could be measured in miles per hour.
The long hot mid-summer dry spell meant the non-tidal River Waveney at Bungay was down to a drift rate of just feet per minute and often less - a potential recipe for disaster when racing drifting ducks.
However the Waveney Valley Canoe Club came to the rescue guiding the 900 plus fleet of ducklings, while the Environment Agency allowed the race to be run over the weir and through the sluice gates, finishing with a flourish of discernible speed just up river of the Sea Scout headquarters.
A system of floating ropes was deployed by the canoeists to funnel the reluctant ducklings into the sluice and earlier in the afternoon a 30 strong fleet of colourful corporate ducks, sponsored by Bungay businesses, were used as a pilot squadron to test the techniques before the main event.
“Duck races are always funny old things,” said race organiser and Falcon Meadow trustee Tim Child. “But without these intervention methods and the Environment Agency’s blessing to use the sluice, we could easily have had a farce on our hands.”
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The race is thought to have raised several thousand pounds in contribution to the purchase of Falcon Meadow as a dedicated community amenity for Bungay and Ditchingham.
This weekend sees the final line-up of events for Bungay Festival including a teddy bears’ picnic, two nights of entertainment at the Fisher Theatre and the closing ceremony at the castle on Sunday.
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Children are being encouraged to enter the fancy dress competitions being held at the Castle Meadow on the final day.
The theme is knights and princesses, and there will be prizes in three age groups: 0 to 5, 6 to 10 and 11 to 15.
Those taking part should be at the Castle Meadow by 2.30pm. Entry is free.
The afternoon will also include Morris dancing, singer Kate Mcguire Buck and a bouncy castle, before the closing ceremony for the festival takes place at 4.30pm.