Paul Gentry and his wife Helen were on a three day Christmas break staying at the Swan Hotel in Bibury, when they learned about the famous Bibury Boxing day duck race, and decided to join in with the festive tradition
The Swan Hotel is a lovely old Cotswold stone building, which is situated next to the river Colne, and was the perfect base for Paul and Helen to discover the delights of the duck race.
The annual event is organised by the Bibury Cricket Club and began about 30 years ago. It consists of two separate races over a stretch of the River Colne; the first race sees 150 full sized decoy ducks, which are numbered on the bottom, released from the main road bridge, where they float downstream to the second footbridge.
For £10 you can choose a numbered duck to cheer on, and the winner of the fastest duck in Bibury nominates a charity to receive the full £1,500.
There is a second race using small yellow plastic ducks, which costs £1 to enter, with individual prizes given for the first twenty past the finish line and the final duck that leisurely floats across the finish.
Paul sponsored a duck in the first race and watched the action from the river bank.
It was a tense ten minutes after the race had finished before the winner was announced… Number 81.
Paul had won!
He was amazed and asked that the £1,500 donation be made to Meningitis Now, a charity very close to his heart. Paul said, “ It was an easy choice to make as we lost my daughter Izzy to meningitis on 20 May 2016, aged 16 years, and Meningitis Now have been there for us ever since.”
“You can appreciate to win was quite an emotional experience, especially at that time of year. I think Izzy was actually pushing the duck along.”
Carrie Bater, Community fundraiser at Meningitis Now, said, “We would like to thank Paul for this kind donation and his continued support.”
“Ever since the tragic death of his daughter Izzy, Paul has been tirelessly fundraising and raising awareness for Meningitis Now, and we cannot thank him enough for his efforts.”
“This latest donation will help us to continue our vital work raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease, and supporting people affected by meningitis”.
The Bibury Boxing Day duck race will return this year at 11am, but it’s advisable to get there early as parking is limited and the river banks can get quite crowded.
Paul added, “We enjoyed the whole experience and would recommend the event to anyone.”
So, why not put it in your diary and who knows, you and your duck could win thousands for your chosen charity!