Old Town Rotary Club's Duck Race, which saw huge crowds gather to cheer on their plastic duck to the finish line, is more than just a fun day out.

This year's event which was held in Westcott Recreation Park on May 27, has raised a whopping £14,000 for charity, which has gone on to help children in crisis zones, people with Motor Neurone Disease, and multiple local charities.

It had a new main sponsor this year in Imagine Cruising.

This is thanks to a huge rise in ticket sales this year, as the Old Town Rotary Club chose to award charities selling tickets a portion of the money.

"Whereas hundreds of ducks used to be put in the river now it’s thousands," said a spokesperson for the club.

Both the Mayor of Swindon and the Rotary District Governor helped to hand out the fundraising money as Old Town Rotary President Mark Barrett brought down the curtain on his successful year.

This year, the charities Desai School in Nairobi and Book Box, which sends boxes of educational materials to children in disaster zones, received £1,200 each.

More locally, the charities Debra and the North Wiltshire MND Association, which provides support for those with Motor Neurone Disease, received £2,400 each.

Other local charities which have walked away with life-changing funds included Big Breakfast Plus, CALM, Parkinson's and Open Door, which all collected over £1,000 for their help in ticket sales.

The first prize winner of the duck race walked away with £1,000 under their belt, and Mechanics Institute Alan Holmes also collected the trophy for the most ducks sold.

Thousands of ducks poured into the river for this year's eventThousands of ducks poured into the river for this year's event (Image: Newsquest)

“It's great to hear of so many wonderful charities working so hard to help people in need and cope with illness and worry," said Old Town Rotary President Mark, who has celebrated his final duck race before stepping down from the role.

Oliver, Irvine, content marketing Supervisor for Imagine Cruising which sponsored the event, added: “We were so pleased to be here and to see the difference that this makes to such important local charities."

The 2024 event could not have happened without support from MacArthur Glen who sponsored the ticket printing and Cubic which provides storage for the ducks, as well as help from local youth groups.

Head of Major Projects, Gary Walker, says he's hopeful for next year's duck race but warned: "Our membership is not getting any younger so we are very anxious to get new members.

"If you would be willing to help the Famous Swindon Duck Race or if you are involved with any other local charity that might be interested in selling tickets next year, please e-mail maticdic@gmail.com."