Rotary Ponteland VIRTUAL Duck Races to go ahead

Rotarians in Ponteland will not be beaten by current Government restrictions on social distancing. They have instead come up with alternative plans for this year’s Duck Races which traditionally take place on the first Sunday in September on the river Pont in Ponteland Park.


President John Muir said, “Obviously we cannot run the usual public event this year as we cannot put members of the public at risk. However, we know how popular the Duck Race event is, so, we are working on plans to stage some virtual Duck Races and to invite children to enter our Design & Build a Boat and “Spot the Duck” competitions.


John explained that, “We are offering every household free entry into the Duck Races. Anyone who wants to enter simply makes a request via our dedicated e-mail address (  We will assign five numbers to each entry (one entry for each of the five races which we are planning) and there will be cash prizes for each race decided using a random number generator.”

Asked about seeing the ducks racing, John said, “We are working on producing some footage so that children can go online and see the ducks racing.  We will publish more details on this as soon as it is available. All that we are asking mums and dads to consider making a donation to our nominated charity.”  All the money donated will go to our chosen charity partner, the Dragonfly Cancer Trust*. ( ) People can donate on line via our Facebook page “Rotary Ponteland” , or direct into our charity account at Barclays Bank (see below for details). We are also planning Rotary Donation Points at Broadway shops and elsewhere in the village in September whereby people can simply donate via our secure “tap and pay” terminal via using a debit or credit card.


Rotarian John Muir said, “Alongside all of this, we have been in touch with local Primary Schools to invite pupils aged 5 to 11 to Design & Build a boat. The competition rules are available on our website  A panel of judges will decide the best entries and the winners will receive a cash prize.”


There is a third part to the Duck race event this year which is aimed to engage with local businesses and children with a “Spot the Duck” competition. Local businesses are invited to sponsor a race and/or sponsor a duck and will be offered the chance to display a duck or boat in their business premises in the month leading up to the races. The businesses will also be offered a “Supporter sticker” which they can display on their premises which can contain a QR code linked to their business web site or “Special offer”. Children (aged 5-11) will be invited to look out for the Ducks, Boats and Supporter stickers displayed on premises in September and send their entries into the Duck race e-mail address (above). There is no entry fee for this competition, it is hoped that local businesses may also be willing to donate small prizes. Look out for the list of the Duck race and competition winners in next month’s edition.


Rotary Ponteland appreciates that these races and competitions are clearly not the same as seeing the ducks floating down the river Pont but we know how much charities are suffering from lack of funding this year due to the cancellation of many large fund raising events.  It is hoped that this event will give local children a bit of fun and help one of our local charities to fill the gap in their funding before we can re-introduce the Duck Race event as normal next year.


For more information on how you can support this event visit the Rotary Ponteland web site,


Rotary Ponteland Bank Details are:-

Barclays Bank, Charity Account, Sort Code 20-59-61, A/c No 60105139



*Dragonfly Cancer Trust offers support to young palliative cancer patients under the age of 25. Support is offered via Memory Making , helping to create Keepsakes by which they might be remembered and other interventions.


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