MORE than 11,000 little yellow quackers plunged into the water and battled the rapids with the aim of winning their owners a £1,000 bank holiday bonus in the annual Old Town Rotary duck race.

Crowds turned up to Wootton Bassett Road Recreation Ground to watch the festivities and help to raise money for local charities.

Rotary club president Roy Parkinson said: “This is the twentieth duck race, and this year the number of ducks we tipped was in excess of 11,000. We will spread the money raised around, instead of giving it to one or two charities.

“Attendance is about the same as last year, we’ve fallen into a pattern with this event and we also found that the dog show brings a lot of people here.

“The interesting thing is that most of the people here today have all been before. We have established this as part of the Swindon’s calendar.

“We also hope to get new members, because we’re all getting old, and we want to attract younger people.”

Some expressed their concerns on Facebook about the impact that the race could have on the environment.

But Roy said all the ducks are always collected after each race. He said: “We recycle the same ducks year after year.

“We are taking the first twelve ducks and then we don’t let anything else through and then further down there’s a net, so if anything does escape, we’ll get them anyway. We do lose a few every year, but the number is very low. Out of 11,000 we might lose only ten.

Emma Mundy, 23, of Old Town said: “We are fundraising for Cancer research, but I’ve come here every single year since I was about one.

“That’s something we do every year with my family; I love the atmosphere. It’s not that sunny today but still a lot of people have turned up, so it’s definitely a lot of fun. It’s a good day out and the little ones love it.”

Natalie Evans, 44, from Lyneham, added: “We come each year and we here for the dog show as well, that’s somewhere we can come with the whole family and it’s always a nice day out.

“Today’s good, it’s very busy and the weather is not too bad. You can spend as much time as you want here without worrying about the dogs being on their own.”

Beauty queen Georgia Holmes said: “I’m here to judge the best dressed duck. This is my second year coming, I was here last year, I was a national finalist, and now I’m actually coming with the crown.

“It’s quite nice, it’s good to get the community together, it’s also good to raise awareness for every charities.”

All proceeds of the event will go to various charities in Swindon, including CALM, Willows counselling service and many others.