Big crowd cheers slow paced ducks along the Calder

Pictured at the start of the Todmorden Lions Duck race are, from the left, back, Mayoress of Todmorden Coun Dorothy Jordan, Lion's president Rod Wainwright, Mayor of Todmorden Coun Margareta Holmstedt and digger driver Darren Cole and, front, Courtney Beier and Rachel Burton, both six, get ready for the launch, May 1, 2011
Pictured at the start of the Todmorden Lions Duck race are, from the left, back, Mayoress of Todmorden Coun Dorothy Jordan, Lion's president Rod Wainwright, Mayor of Todmorden Coun Margareta Holmstedt and digger driver Darren Cole and, front, Courtney Beier and Rachel Burton, both six, get ready for the launch, May 1, 2011

HUNDREDS of people lined the banks of the River Calder to cheer on thousands of plastic yellow ducks.

A total of 3,000 ducks were lowered in the river by the Stansfield Road bridge for the start of the annual Todmorden Lions duck race.

The recent spell of warm and sunny weather continued on race day which, although good for the spectators, resulted in adverse racing conditions for the ducks as they made their way along the river to the finish line at Hallroyd flats.

Rod Wainwright, president of Todmorden Lions Club, said: “Unfortunately the racing conditions were not as favourable to the ducks as they were to the spectators.

“The low level of water in the river, coupled with a strong east wind which blew up the course, led to a very slow race.

“But it was a very successful day with gorgeous sunshine and a very big crowd.”

First to cross the line was duck number 2736, whose owner Madeleine received a £150 prize.

In second place was duck number 1231, whose owner Susan Buckley received £75, while Mrs Jackson won £50 after her duck number 2174 came third.

The last duck home was number 2757, whose owner S Jones received £25.

The race was started by Mayor of Todmorden Coun Margareta Holmstedt and Mayoress Coun Dorothy Jordan, who pushed the button to lower the ducks into the river from a JCB loaned to the Lions by CN Trading, of Hebden Bridge.

Mr Wainwright thanked everyone for coming to support the event and all those who had bought ducks for the race, which raised about £1,500.

He invited volunteers to consider joining the Lions club. For more information, contact Mr Wainwright on 01706 816802.