Perfect day for messing about on the river ...

CRASH COURSE: Competitors come to blows as the river race heat hots up.
CRASH COURSE: Competitors come to blows as the river race heat hots up.

Enthusiastic crowds lined the river bank in Hadleigh on Sunday to watch a duck and raft race.

Having fun in the sun was certainly the order of the day as hundreds of people came to see the rafters compete, and to take part in the annual duck race on the River Brett.

More than 1,000 plastic ducks were launched from Toppesfield Bridge for the 10am race start. There were plenty of obstacles along the 150-yard course, including river weeds.

Jonathan Moore, chairman of the Hadleigh Sea Scouts, said: “It was quite a sight to see so many ducks this year, and the winning duck belonged to Mr and Mrs Sykes who won £50. “It was an absolutely terrific day all round. We had our biggest ever crowd and raised more than we ever have before. We are still counting, but it is going to be more than £2,500 which all goes to helping the Sea Scouts to keep going.”

He added: “We have a very successful group in Hadleigh with 90 members but it costs £6,000 a year for our basic costs so this event is a prime fundraiser.” Fifteen teams took part in an exciting raft race. After a series of heats, culminating in a final, the raft race was won by the team MD Mighty Ducks who were awarded the race trophy.

Mr Moore said: “The teams have to do the course more than once and it is quite hard so the winners earned their hard-fought prize.”

Unfortunately, plans to have a sauna tent and hot tub on the river bank to warm up soaked competitors did not quite go to plan. “The fire service came and filled the hot tub with water but we couldn’t get the heater going. But we will get it sorted by next year,” he added.

The day ended with a barbecue and live music at The George in High Street.