PICTURES: Lavant Duck Race

Charity representatives launch the 400 ducks into the river for the 22nd annual Lavant Duck Race. Picture: Derek Martin DM17421766a
Charity representatives launch the 400 ducks into the river for the 22nd annual Lavant Duck Race. Picture: Derek Martin DM17421766a

Celebrating 22 years of fundraising, Lavant Duck Race was held on Sunday in the coldest weather in its history.

But that did not stop villagers turning out to support the yellow plastic waterfowl as they made their way to the finish line.

DM17421759a.jpg. Lavant Duck Race, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin. SUS-170205-102446008

DM17421759a.jpg. Lavant Duck Race, 2017. Photo by Derek Martin. SUS-170205-102446008

Around £800 was raised in total, for Sailing for the Disabled, St Anthony’s School in Chichester and Lavant Primary School.

Weather played a key part this year, as not only was the water lower than usual but the wind was southerly, so some of the ducks started going in the wrong direction.

Organiser Jenny Quest said: “At the beginning, 400 ducks were all thrown in from Potnore Bridge. On this occasion, we had a southerly wind which blew some of them northwards.”

Jenny started the race when her daughter Gina was at Lavant Primary, as a way of supporting the school.

Jenny Quest, Helen Spilsted, Paul Taylor and Gina Quest. Picture: Derek Martin DM17421751a

Jenny Quest, Helen Spilsted, Paul Taylor and Gina Quest. Picture: Derek Martin DM17421751a

Now, Gina plays a key role, making sure the ducks make it along the river, with the help of Paul Taylor.

Jenny explained: “Gina and Paul go down with the leaders so that people waiting at the end don’t have to wait too long.

“As it was, with the slow river this year and the wind, they took longer than usual. Normally they would have gone down quicker. They usually take about 35 minutes but this year it was three quarters of an hour before the first duck arrived.”

As the ducks made their way downstream, Jenny and helper Helen Spilsted rounded up the tailenders and encouraged them to get all the way down the river.

Gina and Paul encourage the leaders down the river DM17421784a

Gina and Paul encourage the leaders down the river DM17421784a

Jenny said: “There was a mother mallard with her little ducklings, too, and at one stage, she was escorting her ducklings along and there were a couple of the plastic ducks going with them, which was quite sweet.”

Cheers greeted the ducks as they arrived at Marsh Lane Bridge, by the village green in Lavant, and St Anthony’s School was there serving refreshments, including some very welcome warm drinks.

Jenny said: “It was really cold. We have had all weathers but I think this one was the coldest.

“It is a bit of fun and it is a good turnout, with representatives from each of the charities. It is a nice village event and people come down to support it so there is a nice atmosphere.”