Wymeswold Duck Race and Waddle 2008

Paul Chilton (Chillo) pips Dave Hayward to the line

Wymeswold's famous Duck Races were back on Sunday 18th May, with huge crowds turning out to enjoy the fun and also to witness a series of breath-taking low-level flypasts by the RAF's last flying Lancaster bomber.

The day started with the second running of the ‘Wymeswold Waddle' , a five-mile running race from Wymeswold to Six Hills and back organized by the Wymeswold Running Club. Last year the inaugural race attracted 150 runners, but this time round the organizers were rewarded with 280 competitors, with some coming from the village, some from local running clubs and others from further a field including one runner from France .

The men's race was won by Martin Lewis from Loughborough with a course-record time of 26 minutes and 57 seconds, while Gemma Steel was victorious in the women's race with a time of 29 minutes and 24 seconds. The first Wymeswold runner home was Keith Humphrey (30 minutes 49 seconds), while Deb Jones was the first Wymeswold woman home with a time of 42 minutes and 42 seconds. Well-known Wymeswold resident Paul Chilton ran for charity wearing just a fig leaf and a smile, but still recorded an excellent time of just over 40 minutes.

Last year the race was started by Brook Street resident Clive Harrison who sadly passed away earlier this year, so his son Dave Harrison ran the race in his father's memory, pushing a wheelbarrow over the five-mile course in aid of the Loughborough Stroke Club - and he still recorded a creditable time of 47 minutes.

All the runners were presented with a souvenir t-shirt to commemorate their day in Wymeswold, and many stayed on for the Duck Races which were officially opened by the Mayor of Charnwood Stephen Campbell at 12.30pm.

There were four betting races on the River Mantle in front of the Windmill pub, including an obstacle race when around a dozen children took their shoes and socks off to stand in the brook for the ducks to swim around. The public could win money trying to forecast which duck would win each race, and the children's ‘Puddleduck Regatta'organized by Wymeswold Playgroup attracted 220 entries.

There were plenty of stalls and attractions, including a Tae Kwando display by the Blue Wave Martial Arts Group, and Extreme Bikers displaying daring cycle stunts.

Live music was provided by the Wymeswold trio ‘Little Less Likely' comprising three 13-year olds in the form of Ed Stiven, Marc Humphrey and Paul Isherwood, who performed a selection of songs including five self-penned numbers.

The crowds were also entertained by the ‘Sitting Ducks' - Charlie Bailey and Nicci Keeling - who were half way through a song when a great roar from the sky signalled the arrival of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster Bomber. The veteran plane made three low swoops along Brook Street, before returning for one final extremely low pass which thrilled the crowds and perhaps loosened a few roof tiles!

A short video of the final pass can be seen here…

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygl22gk_CRU

The Duck Races and Waddle should have made a profit of around £5200, while the various village organizations running their own stalls took around £1300. We therefore hope that a total of £6500 was raised on the day.

Of the money raised by the Duck Race and Waddle, the Wymeswold Village Project Fund will be making a donation to the Peter Le Marchant Trust (the Loughborough-based charity providing boating holidays for the disabled) and then local clubs, societies and community projects will be invited to make applications for grants to fund their own capital projects.