Sheffield crowds go quackers for park’s charity duck race

Duck Race Endcliffe Park. Youngsters free some of the trapped ducks
Duck Race Endcliffe Park. Youngsters free some of the trapped ducks

IT was perfect weather for racing ducks...

Heavy Spring showers failed to deter 1,000 people from flocking to a Sheffield park to watch one of the city’s most unusual fundraising events - the Great Easter Duck Race.

Raincoat-clad youngsters and families cheered on thousands of rubber ducks as they sped down the Porter Brook in Endcliffe Park.

Helpful youngsters waded in to free the floating fowl when ducks became stuck at obstructions in the swollen waterway.

Ann Le Sage, chairwoman of organisers The Friends of Porter Brook, said: “We all got very wet but at least 1,000 people or more turned out.

“It was a very successful race and, because it was really raining, we’ve never seen the ducks move so fast!

“They sped downstream to the end at the stepping stones in about 15 minutes.

“It was a bit of a mud bath. Two of our volunteers fell over and got rather wet.

“I think people went home happy, tired and very dirty.”

Sheffield’s Lord Mayor, Coun Sylvia Dunkley, officially started the race and there was a range of stalls and also an Easter bonnet competition.

At least £3,000 has been raised by the event, with more money still to come in.

It will go towards the Friends’ project on Forge Dam and be spent on removing silt from the dam.

Ann added: “We had about 50 volunteers helping throughout the day who did all sorts of tasks, from clearing the river to setting the stalls up and collecting ducks afterwards. I’d like to say thank you to them and to the people who bought ducks in advance to raise the £3,000 so far.”

The event is in its fourth year. Last year’s duck race collected £6,500 towards the Friends’ restoration of the Shepherd Wheel, which has now reopened to the public on weekends.