‘The ducks might contaminate the river’: Charity race plans change due to environment fears

PUBLISHED: 11:40 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:40 03 July 2019

Bungay Duck Race. Photo: Andrew Atterwill

Bungay Duck Race. Photo: Andrew Atterwill

Andrew Atterwill

The Great Bungay Duck Race has changed its course, after it was revealed the heavily-decorated ducks are polluting the waterways and pose a risk to wildlife.

Bungay Duck Race. Photo: Andrew AtterwillBungay Duck Race. Photo: Andrew Atterwill

Up until this year, organisers of the race, which is being held on River Waveney on July 14, invited local businesses and children to decorate and enter ducks in fancy dress as part of the annual event.

However, this year they are ditching tradition and will keep the brightly-painted ducks on dry land to save the environment and 2,000 unpainted ducks will take to the water instead.

According to race organiser, Allan Myatt while the heavily decorated ducks are eye-catching, they pose a threat to the waterways and the wildlife.

Mr Myatt said: "We spend a lot of time talking to people about the Duck Race and while they love the event, we keep getting the same feedback - concerns that glitter, stickers and paint from the ducks might contaminate the river and pose a threat to wildlife.

Bungay Duck Race. Photo: Andrew AtterwillBungay Duck Race. Photo: Andrew Atterwill

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"This has been a year of intense focus on the damage pollutants are causing to the natural world and we felt that we simply couldn't justify what was essentially throwing rubbish into one of the region's most beautiful waterways," he said.

Katie Utting, a trustee of the Falcon Meadow Community Trust, which runs the event, said: "Falcon Meadow is a registered charity and one of our aims states that we will protect the natural environment on the Meadow.

"While the Duck Race raises much needed funds, we felt that we had to be consistent in our actions, and this meant keeping some of the ducks on the shore this year," she said

Great Bungay annual duck race. Picture: Andrew AtterwillGreat Bungay annual duck race. Picture: Andrew Atterwill

Despite the decorated ducks not racing organisers have said they will be displayed throughout the afternoon and have urged people to be as "creative as their imagination allows".

"We are looking forward to some of the most elaborate ducks the world has ever seen, and we've introduced a public vote for the people's favourite duck for the ducks that most appeal,"Mr Myatt said.

For more information about the duck race, visit their website at

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