The Duck Race

by Veronica

Why did a stream full of plastic ducks today draw a crowd of hundreds of people? A glorious Cheshire day saw me out in our beautiful air once again. This time with charity in mind.

Cancer ; The word sends a chill through us all and we have all had a family member of friend fall victim to it. My mother died a hideous death with it. We are told greater numbers of people survive it. But what of those who receive the death sentence?

Here in Manchester a marvellous little place called Francis House provides marvellous end of life care for terminally ill children mainly with cancer. The Hospice movement in England is appallingly funded. They take so much stress and work away from our overworked National Health Service and yet receive no or little government funding. Consequently, Hospices all over the country rely on donations and yet they cost £660 an hour to run. Fundraising is essential and what better way to raise funds than by using plastic ducks.

The Duck Race is one of several fund raising events that are organised every year to fund our local hospices ourselves. Next month I am doing the Manchester Midnight 10km Walk. That's hard work but today's Duck race was easy and fun way to raise much needed funds.

Finding a Wizzley category for this was difficult... health ? not really? travel and place ... perhaps ? I decided to place it under Culture and Society as it is our society that puts us in a place where our government considers dignified end of life care is so unimportant, that it will not fund it properly.

Bramall Hall 15/5/2016
Bramall Hall 15/5/2016
The scene of the event

Francis House Children' Hospice

At Francis House they believe in the sanctity of life and respect for the dignity of every person. Francis House values the understanding, visions and attitudes to life and death of all of the children and families who allow them the privilege of being alongside them through their times of stress, pain and confusion.

They provide care for children and young adults with life threatening conditions and support and friendship for the whole family.

They deserve all the funds they can get.


The ducks
The ducks

The ducks

The ducks cost £1 to sponsor and there were several races during the day. They are set into he water at the entrance of Cheshire's beautiful Bramall Park and the plastic ducks bob along the Lady Brook .

There were hundreds of people there today; lots of people cheering along plastic ducks and surprisingly it was highly entertaining.  We laughed and cheered and everyone was good natured as they encouraged on plastic ducks.

Volunteers were on hand to help the ducks on their way if they got stuck and boy scouts spent the day wading in the water collecting ducks and releasing them.

The organisation

When we arrived at the park there were tables where we could "buy", sponsor,  a plastic duck and we were given a number. The ducks have numbers written on them and happily bob along. It's difficult to see your own number.  I bought 5 ducks.

the park
the park

Beautiful Bramall Hall is in the background and set the scene magnificently for today's wonderful occasion.

In the picture below you can see in the background, some of the many stalls which gave the event a country fayre feel to it. You can see the START and the scouts who worked so hard all day standing in the water, Lady Brook. 

The start and the stalls
The start and the stalls
path by the brook
path by the brook

Bramhall Park has several lovely walks and paths and this one was ideal because it is by the Brook where the Duck Race was held.

the ducks race to the finish line
the ducks race to the finish line

As well as the Stalls, the Police, Fire and Ambulance service were there and the children were delighted to be able to sit in the driver's seat of various vehicles. My grandson included.

Where's The Fire?
Where's The Fire?
The ambulance
The ambulance
The cop car
The cop car
The life boat
The life boat

The FINISH line. There were several volunteers on hand to collect in the ducks and prepare for the next race.


If you are interested to see what Francis House do with their funds here's a link ...

Updated: 05/17/2016, Veronica
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Veronica on 06/23/2017

It is a lovely occasion. It is truly a family occasion and everyone brings picnics. We went again this year. My grandson got to sit in a fire engine kindly brought along by the fire brigade!

Yes I am doing the 10km tonight in aid of the cancer hospice . We will set off around Manchester city centre at Midnight ! I am hoping for about 2 hours .

DerdriuMarriner on 06/23/2017

Veronica, Thank you for sharing such an important fundraiser with us. The ducks look so colorful. Do the children and young adults get to attend the event or watch a film of it at the time or afterwards? Is the Manchester 10k really held at midnight?

Veronica on 05/25/2016

I am delighted to hear that your cancer was removed successfully. There has been huge progress in cancer treatment, pain relief and palliative care since my mother died from it nearly 36 years ago.

The race is a good way to raise much needed funds. I am doing the Manchester Midnight 10km for the hospice on June 24th. People are quite devoted to local hospice care. Thankfully.

Do keep well and well done on your positive outlook.

blackspanielgallery on 05/25/2016

We had one in this area years ago, but if the duck got stuck it was not released again. I see the many colors used, but here the ducks all looked alike and no one knew who won until the duck was netted and a number on the bottom was read.
I was fortunate to have cancer removed by surgery.

Veronica on 05/21/2016

The approx total of money raised for the children's cancer hospice is over £15,000 .


Veronica on 05/17/2016

Yes, I thought it deserved some acknowledgment for ingenuity. There were hundreds of people there all laughing and cheering on a plastic duck ! I do so hope they make some money for those people who are terminally ill.

candy47 on 05/16/2016

Wonderful way to raise funds for hospices. Fun for all ages, and thank goodness for those boy scouts rescuing and releasing stuck ducks. Will there be a pink flamingo contest?

frankbeswick on 05/16/2016

Culture and Society is the right category for this article. Your focus on the places and cultural events of Cheshire, particularly your local area, which is in North East Cheshire, is a very positive form of specialization. Good writing often involves finding your own niche and working on it, which you have done.

Veronica on 05/16/2016

It was a lovely occasion , one which brought the Community together. I am glad that people can have an understanding of our health system . It isn't as rosy as people overseas seem to think!

Mira on 05/16/2016

This sounds and looks like a great idea. Thanks for sharing. Lovely photos! (And I learned something about hospices in the UK.)

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