On Sunday Sept 2nd we aim to send 165,000 rubber ducks down a 1km stretch of the River Thames near Hampton Court Palace, and in doing so set a new world record and raise over £500,000 for UK charities.
The world record will presumably be the number of wild yellow plastic ducks lost down river and being washed up on continental beaches for years to come.
You can sponsor a wide range of charities, but since you are reading this on Granny Buttons, the recommended one is The Waterways Trust. However, the website allows you to recommend a charity of your own choice, although curiously I can't find a charity specifically for ducks. The most appropriate is perhaps the WWT at Slimbridge, near the Glos & Sharpness Canal, but it's not on the nomination list.
In learning about the GBDR (not to be confused with the GUCR, which is just as madcap but
more serious for humans) it's the first time I've heard of duck racing. So I did my homework, and I'm surprised to find it's actually quite common around the world.
And not just as a charity fund-raiser, where the GAME Group (slogan: "we put the fun into fundraising") claims to have originated it - but as a business. Witness, for example, the Charnwood Catalogue, which sells rubber ducks in packs of a hundred a time. Why can't people just give all their money to charity, instead of dressing up their entertainment in charity's clothes?
However, if you want to get some practice in, you might like to try the warm-up event on 30th July - The Great London Duck Race. Only 30,000 in that, at Battersea.
As it happens I was getting in some practice of my own on Sunday near Atherstone, getting ducks to chase each other for bread (below). A tip: bet on the greedier ducks; they always win. It was for my own entertainment, but at least I was interacting with wildlife at the same time. Now, how about the various waterways charities doing duck races for real?