AFTER months of hot dry weather, forecasts of thunder storms and torrential rain kept many visitors away from Bourton-on-the-Water on Saturday for the day that North Cotswolds Rotary Club held their annual charity duck races along the River Windrush.

In the event, however, rain held off for most of the day and to the amusement of many, strong gusts of wind were strong enough, at times, to blow the ducks back up stream, thus prolonging each race.

While the overall number of visitors to Bourton was down compared to any other Saturday in summer, there were still plenty of overseas visitors who witnessed a British spectacle of masses of numbered yellow plastic ducks floating down the river every half hour.

Parties of Japanese tourists lined up to buy a ticket for their chosen duck or try their luck at the tombola, where the many prizes included a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Among the visitors were several other Rotarians – Ronnie Wright from Coatbridge, Airdrie and Monklands Rotary Club in Scotland helped out on the tombola, and Michael Menges from the Rotary Club of Giessen in Germany was invited to throw a box of ducks into the river for the start of the 2 o’clock race.

This event is held annually in aid of the club’s chosen charities for the year, and this year the proceeds will be shared between Kate’s Home Nursing, Great Western Air Ambulance, and Canine Partners who provide assistance dogs for those with physical handicaps to enable them to lead independent lives.

The total raised was just over £900, down on previous years due to the weather. This sum will be added to amounts raised at forthcoming rotary events throughout the year.

Club president Ed Alexander thanked Bob Hadley for organising the event, and Sue Hadley and Janet Prout for being available all day to sell tickets.

The next charity event of the year organised by North Cotswolds Rotary Club is the Cotswold Festival of Motoring, which takes place on Sunday August 12 between 10am and 4pm at The Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water, where some 180 vintage cars and vehicles of special interest will be taking part.

The cost of entry is £6 for adults, with accompanied children going free.