St Neots duck race raises more than £3,000 for cancer centre

Woodlands Charity Duck Race, at the town bridge, St Neots,

Woodlands Charity Duck Race, at the town bridge, St Neots, - Credit: Archant

A VAST flotilla of yellow plastic ducks bobbed down river and raised more than £3,000 for the Woodlands Cancer Centre extension.

Woodlands Charity Duck Race, at the town bridge, St Neots, (l-r) Lilly Bone, Stephanie Bone, Tim Bon

Woodlands Charity Duck Race, at the town bridge, St Neots, (l-r) Lilly Bone, Stephanie Bone, Tim Bone and Freddie Bone - Credit: Archant

In total, 1,764 took part in the race in St Neots on Saturday, each one backed by a donation of at least £1 for the appeal.

Woodlands Charity Duck Race, at the town bridge, St Neots,

Woodlands Charity Duck Race, at the town bridge, St Neots, - Credit: Archant

Organiser Gini Melesi, a community cancer nurse specialist at Woodlands, said she had been overwhelmed by the demand for ducks.

Hannah Melesi, 13, who swam with the ducks, pictured at the finish line

Hannah Melesi, 13, who swam with the ducks, pictured at the finish line - Credit: Archant

“Barretts sold out of ducks by Thursday and I sold out by 10am on the day,” she added. “Some kids were distraught there were none left so I said ‘If you can find a duck, I’ll number it up’. Six people did that.”

The race started when the ducks were launched on their way from the town bridge by Stephanie Bone, 33, who is currently having treatment at the Woodlands Centre after being diagnosed with breast cancer in February.


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Mrs Bone, from St Neots, who was helped on the start line by husband Tim, 41, daughter Lilly, three, and son Freddie, five, said: “They are such a brilliant group at Woodlands so I wanted to do anything I could to help. Everyone has been amazingly supportive and helped me with my chemo journey.”

The winning duck was backed by Alfie Skinner who won a Kindle, while five others also received prizes.

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Mrs Melesi thanked all those who helped, including Bryn Dymott and his team of swimmers for helping the ducks make their 20-minute ‘swim’ to the finish; Huntingdon firefighters for providing a hose to act as the finish line at the rowing club; Simon Cooper for his race commentary; and staff from department store Barretts of St Neots who helped sell 700 ducks.

The total raised, which included a £750 donation from Barclays and the proceeds of a raffle, was £3,100 and there is more to come.

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