Ducks away! A quacking success at the Aylesbury Canal Basin for Lymphoma Action

The Lymphoma Action team with third place winner Gloria Canning, and Herald editor Hayley O'Keeffe
The Lymphoma Action team with third place winner Gloria Canning, and Herald editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Nearly 650 bright yellow ducks were under starters orders on Saturday (10 August). Hundreds of people across the country got behind Lymphoma Action’s first-ever Duck Race, sponsoring and naming the competitors.

On the day, around 50 spectators came down to the Aylesbury canal basin to cheer on their ducks and take part in a tombola and hook-a-duck game, there was also a chance to pick up a free copy of The Bucks Herald at a stand run by editor Hayley O'Keeffe, reporter Neil Shefferd and Peter Finch.

The Lymphoma Action team getting the ducks ready

The Lymphoma Action team getting the ducks ready

Front runners used the windy conditions to their advantage and, expertly guided by volunteer canoeists, bobbed gracefully around barges and towards the weir for an exciting finish. The duck that crossed the finish line in first place, bagging its sponsor a £100 cash prize, was ‘Fuzzy’. Second-place winner of £75 was ‘Amy Turtle’ and the £50-winning, third fastest duck was ‘Immy’. The £25 prize for the best name went to ‘Funky Wigeon’.

Follow Lymphoma Action on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LymphomaAction to re-live the race complete with expert commentary!

Sarah Thorn, Lymphoma Action’s Community and Partnerships Manager and designated ‘Head Mallard’ and Adjudicator for the race itself, said: “It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the spectacle of the duck race as our 648 sponsored ducks bobbed along, turning the canal bright yellow. Huge thanks to everyone who sponsored a duck – we had such a fantastic range of names to choose from! – and to our amazing volunteers who made sure everything went swimmingly. We are so grateful to our two fabulous canoeists, Greg Wilson from Chiltern Canoe Club and Brychan Watkins, who herded all the ducks towards the finish, and to all our wonderful duck catchers from Aylesbury Hundreds Rotary, who made sure all ducks were safely retrieved and ready to race again next year!”

Lymphoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and Lymphoma Action is the only charity dedicated to helping those affected by it. A type of blood cancer, it develops when the white blood cells called lymphocytes that form part of our immune system grow out of control. It’s a complex condition with over 60 subtypes and it can be hard to diagnose because its symptoms – unexpected weight loss, frequent infections that are hard to shift, night sweats, itchy skin and lumps in the neck, armpit or groin – are often mistaken for other health issues. Lymphoma Action wants to keep offering the best possible information and support so that no-one has to face their lymphoma alone. The charity provides information resources and a confidential helpline, workshops and buddy network for anyone affected – as well as supporting GPs and other healthcare professionals to ensure faster, more accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

The ducks were guided on their way by canoeists

The ducks were guided on their way by canoeists

“The duck race has done a brilliant job of raising awareness of the services we offer – as well as vital funds to help more people facing a lymphoma diagnosis,” adds Sarah. “By supporting it, you’ve helped more people affected by lymphoma get the best possible care, treatment, information and support.”

Visit www.lymphoma-action.org.uk to find out more about lymphoma; the charity’s services for those affected and how you can get involved. Look out for the Muddy Mutts Dog Walk, coming to Wendover Woods on Sunday 20 October and raising funds for lymphoma.