Olympic swimmer is VIP guest at Tadcaster Duck Race

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Floods failed to dampen the enthusiasm for raising funds for Tadcaster’s community swimming pool as people rallied to the cause.

The annual duck race had been due to take place on the River Wharfe last weekend but had to be abandoned because of safety fears after flooding earlier in the week.

Tadcaster Duck Race Fun Day. Eleanor Dodsworth pulls the winning Duck Race Draw ticket from the bag helped by Olympic swimmer Chris Cook. (120929M1i)

Tadcaster Duck Race Fun Day. Eleanor Dodsworth pulls the winning Duck Race Draw ticket from the bag helped by Olympic swimmer Chris Cook. (120929M1i)

Organisers Fiona Garnett said: “The Duck Race took place without the ducks getting wet!

“Due to the floods and the closure of the bridge in Tadcaster, the annual duck race as such had to be abandoned.

“Thanks to the generosity of St Josephs Primary School, who gave permission for all the stalls and activities to relocate to their playground, the event went ahead.”

She added: “Posters were hurriedly changed, schools, shop keepers, community groups and stall holders informed. This was a race in itself but still no ducks.”

Fiona said that despite the town being cut in two because of the bridge closure, people did turn out to enjoy the entertainment such as wet sponge throwing, penalty football, cake stall, etc.

“Our thanks go to all the shop keepers, stall holders taking part, and all the schoolchildren who entered the Paint a Duck competition,” she added.

“A total of just over £2000 was raised and will go towards the refurbishment of the social deck at the pool.”

Bejing Olympic swimmer Chris Cook, now an ambassador for young athletes and swimmers, opened the event after attending a swim clinic with youngsters the in town the night before.

The numbered tickets corresponding to the original ducks allowed for a draw to be completed by Eleanor Dodsworth (winner of the Paint a Duck schools competition) from Riverside school, assisted by Chris Cook.

The winning tickets were: first prize £100 – ticket 0583; second £50 – 0988; third £25 – 0852.

The winner of the Tadcaster Duck Shop window display was Bridge Street Barbers; second All About Animals; third Moorhouses Opticians.