The undated ‘then’ photo above shows the Boxing Day Duck Race, nowadays a firm fixture in Kenilworth’s calendar over the Christmas period. The image shows officials from the Kenilworth Lions Club dumping a huge sack full of numbered plastic ducks into Finham Brook from the parapet of the Ford’s foot bridge. The banks are packed with onlookers, hoping their numbered duck will make it to the finish line first to win them a prize, or just content to be part of the spectacle and help raise money for charity.
The Kenilworth Lions is a registered charity run by volunteers, which helps charitable causes including groups and individuals in Kenilworth and the immediate area. Such events include the annual Lions Show, Christmas Carol Concert, second hand furniture store on Farmer Ward Road and of course the annual Duck Race. The mid-winter setting of the race means, of course, that the leaves are not on the trees to spoil the view of the action.
As the Kenilworth Lions website puts it, “Every Boxing day an unusual ritual takes place starting at the Ford in Kenilworth. At noon, after the events at the Castle, the Town Mayor helps to launch 1,500 defenceless little ducklings into Finham Brook. After a bracing swim of 200 metres the ducks cross the finishing line in the Town’s Abbey Fields. The first four finishers capture prizes of £100, £75, £50 and £25 respectively. This annual event has been running for over twenty five years and now attracts thousands of visitors, from far and wide. The race has featured on BBC Radio 2, the Guardian, the Times and of course in the Kenilworth Weekly News. Over the years we have raised over £80,000 to help those in need. All the ducks have numbers painted on their little botties and the raffle tickets come in various colours, with prices for each colour”.
Information on where to buy tickets for the next Duck Race and other Lions activities can be found on their website here: http://kenilworthlionsclub.co.uk/