There were cries of fowl play as two very real mallards came close to sabotaging the final of the Great Farnham Duck Race 2023 on Saturday.
After an afternoon of heats, the Great Farnham Duck Race 2023 came down to one final race at Gostrey Meadow – with a £300 prize on offer to the winner.
But with hundreds lining the banks of the River Wey to cheer on the racing rubber duckies to the finish line, two actual ducks had other ideas...
In scenes eerily similar to the protests at the Grand National last month, Mr and Mrs Mallard seemingly took offence at their chosen stretch of river being taken over by the bright yellow visitors and decided to block the home straight as the racing ducks approached.
There were gasps of astonishment from the hundreds of watching spectators as a collision looked certain.
But confronted by the hordes of bobbing duckies bearing down on them, the mallards thought better of it and flew down river.
What followed was an even more dramatic finale to the day's racing, as dozens of ducks looked in with a chance of scooping the £300 top prize before 'E35' just edged out the competition to earn itself a top spot on the podium.
Joining the hundreds of visitors at the 35th Great Farnham Duck Race was a very special royal visitor in the form of King Duck, who made a surprise appearance after weeks of rumours as the ducks limbered up for their big day.
He turned what was a regular day into something special as hundreds of families came out to enjoy the spring-like atmosphere.
Dozens of charity stalls filled Gostrey Meadow with their wares, from plants to cakes to games and promotion for their activities. Roundabouts, ice creams and the inflatable slide kept the children happy while waiting for the racing to start, and there were pizzas, burgers, bacon baps and other refreshments to enjoy.
At midday the first race began, launched by Farnham’s mayor, Alan Earwaker, assisted by King Duck. The river was running fast and it was only a few minutes before the ducks reached the end of the course and the winner was declared.
The second race was launched by Sarah Church, chief executive of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and her colleagues. The hospice is the major charity benefitting from the funds raised during the Great Farnham Duck Race.
The winners of each heat will receive a prize and the overall race winner receives the Grand Prize.
The winning ticket numbers are: A72, B53, C149, D187, E231, F255, G105, H105, I6, J6, K104, L104, M104, and the overall race winner is E35. All winners will be contacted by the race organisers, Farnham Weyside Rotary Club.