THEY are yellow, they float and there will be up to 1,600 of them taking to the water in St Neots in aid of the Woodlands Cancer Centre extension appeal.

The flotilla of 8cm plastic ducks will race, with a little assistance, from the bridge to the rowing club next month – and you are needed to back a winner.

They can be “bought” for a minimum of £1 each and there are at least six prizes up for grabs, including a Kindle and £100 of Hotel Chocolat chocolate. A £50 voucher for department store Barretts, which has adopted the Woodlands Cancer Centre as its charity of the year to mark 125 years of trading, will also be available.

All proceeds will go towards helping to raise the £800,000 needed to build the extension at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon.

Organiser Gini Melesi, a community cancer nurse specialist at Woodlands, said: “It’s going to be a really good community event that will support the unit. We want to sell as many ducks as possible then people can line the river and cheer them on.”

In the absence of a strong flow, Mrs Melesi said the ducks, which will all be numbered, would be “motivated” down-river by a team of outdoor swimmers.

The winning ducks will be those that are first to reach the finish line at St Neots Rowing Club.

They are available from Barretts, the Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, from the St Neots Town Council office in Priory Lane or by calling 07715 037711.

Alternatively, pick one up at this weekend’s Buckfest in Buckden.

They will be available on the day and there will also be a raffle.

The number of ducks in the race has been boosted by the White Horse at Eaton Socon after landlord Oliver Reynalds bought an extra 400.

Held for the first time last year, it is part of the St Neots Food and Drink Festival organised by the town council.

Market Square will be packed with stalls selling local produce and entertainment will include cooking demonstrations by chef Dale Pinnock and live music.

INFORMATION: St Neots Food and Drink Festival is from 11am-4pm on Saturday, August 3. The ducks will be released from the bridge at 2pm.

■ The Woodlands Centre is due to have a stall at the St Neots Business Showcase in Market Square on Friday (July 12). More than 40 businesses and organisations will be setting up shop from 11am-2pm.