Too much water in river scuppers Keynsham's annual duck race
By JoannaPazucha | Monday, July 02, 2012, 14:56
Recent heavy rain meant that for the first time in its 17-year history, Keynsham's annual duck race on the River Chew had to be cancelled.
It's too wet for plastic ducks in Keynsham
The sight of 2,000 plastic ducks being launched off the bridge at the bandstand and then the fun of following them down river to the finish has always been a very popular part of the town's music festival.
However, this year a B&NES Council official deemed the water level too high to allow Sunday's race to go ahead.
Club spokesman Lion Alan Hale said: "The club was bitterly disappointed at having to take this step and appreciate that many festival goers were also disappointed.
"Because the river was much higher than normal, following the heavy rains, a B&NES Council officer made the decision that we could not possibly put people into the river either to follow the ducks down stream or to collect them at the finish line.
"Common sense also dictated that we had to concede defeat to the elements and we understand the decision. Most of our ticket sales were completed before Sunday thanks to the Co-op store for allowing the use of their entrance and so as it is a lottery, we had no alternative but to draw a winner and a second and third place because we could not return ticket money.
"Thankfully Fry Club were able to lend us their electronic random number indicator and so winners were established fairly and in public view."
The race had already overcome some difficulties. The Avon Network Scouts who normally helped in the past had closed down but the Keynsham Town Football Club had said they would provide some river entry staff. Then the bandstand bridge where the launch takes place, was declared unsafe by B&NES Council just two weeks prior to the race and closed but the council pulled out all of the stops to ensure that it could be used and were willing to allow just four Lions to access the bridge just for the launch had they not resolved the problem.
Mr Hale said: "The club would like to thank the community for their continued support. People still helped us to raise money by buying tickets and whilst the normal figure was down we still made several hundred pounds for the needy and good causes that we help. The club looks forward to a drier Duck Race period next year."
The winning ticket numbers were 1st 1089, 2nd 422, 3rd 780 and the wooden spoon prize of £10 for last place went to 888.
Anyone interested in learning more about Lions and perhaps how to join can view the club web site at www.keynshamlions.org.uk or their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/KeynshamLions or alternatively for an informal chat then ring 0845 8339817.