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Quacking tips to get your duck race ready for the Beccles and Bungay Journal

Michelle Payne from The Upstairs Gallery, Beccles, demonstrating the best way to decorate your plastic duck ready for the Duck Race.

Michelle Payne from The Upstairs Gallery, Beccles, demonstrating the best way to decorate your plastic duck ready for the Duck Race.

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The countdown is on to this year's Beccles Duck Race on August 1 but have you chosen the design for your duck only to find yourself struggling to make it a reality?

Well Michelle Payne, owner of The Upstairs Gallery in Exchange Square, Beccles, has a few words of advice on duck decorating to make sure it survives its journey down the River Waveney.

The Upstairs Gallery

The Upstairs Gallery was opened in 2007 by artist and lifecaster Michelle Payne.

It exhibits work by artists from Suffolk and Norfolk including paintings, sculptures and crafts.

The galleries main ethos is to support all practising, working and established artists.

It has 15 rooms over two floors to house artwork and a shop selling a wide range of art supplies.

250 paintings can be exhibited on the upper floors with 89 exhibitors each and every month.

A group of four volunteers help to run the gallery.

It was recently named one of the best small art galleries in the UK by High 50 - a global online community for people over 50 where there are articles on culture, beauty, food and health.

The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 4.30pm and Sundays from 11am to 3pm.

For more information or to find out how to exhibit your work, call Michelle on 01502 717191 or visit www.theupstairsgallery.co.uk

“It’s the same with painting anything, you start with a base,” said the 43-year-old. “First you need to sandpaper the whole duck down. This provides a surface for the paint to adhere to and makes it stick.

“Then with the paint, it needs to be acrylic. This will create a plastic membrane and will set on the duck.”

The Upstairs Gallery can provide you with acrylic paints and brushes and Mrs Payne (pictured in her gallery below) will be offering a 10pc discount to anybody buying materials to use on their duck.

She said: “All you have to do is mention duck race and you can get a 10pc discount. I will also be providing worksheets for people with basics on how to decorate a duck.

Michelle Payne who has painted the Beccles and Bungay Journal duck for the Beccles Duck Race.

Picture: James BassMichelle Payne who has painted the Beccles and Bungay Journal duck for the Beccles Duck Race. Picture: James Bass

“Also, I can offer advice and take people through things if they’re not sure.”

And what about adding decorations to your duck beyond paint?

“If you’re going to stick anything on the duck then you need to use epoxy glue,” said Mrs Payne who opened the gallery in 2007. “I don’t sell that here but it is available from hardware stores.

“Then you can put anything you want to on it, gems, feathers, rhinestones - you’re not limited. You can pretty much do anything to a duck.”

Michelle Payne from The Upstairs Gallery, Beccles, demonstrating the best way to decorate your plastic duck ready for the Duck Race.Michelle Payne from The Upstairs Gallery, Beccles, demonstrating the best way to decorate your plastic duck ready for the Duck Race.

Mrs Payne also mentioned to add a protective layer over the paint to use PVA glue.

She added: “This opens people’s minds to being arty and to being whacky.”

The event, organised by Beccles Rugby Club for the second year running, will include races for small ducks, corporate ducks and remote controlled ducks.

And new for this year is a raft race which will take place along the same stretch of water where the ducks paddle to the finish line.

The event will kick off at noon at Beccles Quay with the raft race at 2pm, the duck races at 4pm and live music into the evening by local band Totally Wrecked.

There will also be a demonstration by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, live music between the races from Full Throttle and stalls and rides for youngsters to enjoy.

Funds raised will support Beccles Rugby Club and the development of a new youth community hub to provide a safe meeting point for the players.

Ducks will be on sale outside The King’s Head Hotel in Beccles tomorrow from 10am to 4pm.

For more information contact Gareth Hadridge on 07920114269 or email ghadridge@btinternet.com

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