Did you visit on Sunday? Images: National World.Did you visit on Sunday? Images: National World.
Did you visit on Sunday? Images: National World.

Photo gallery shows family fun at Biggleswade Carnival's annual Duck Race

Games, entertainment and laughter offered a quacking good time at Biggleswade Carnival's Duck Race and Family Fun Day.

On Sunday (June 9) residents flocked to the banks of the Ivel to watch the bright yellow birds rush down the river and see if their chosen number would win.

The event was "busier than ever" this year, and the Chronicle headed down to meet some of the organisers, stall holders and families.

Hazel Clarke, chair of Biggleswade Community Carnival Committee, said: "The turnout is probably one of the busiest, and the PCC and MP are here as well.

"The Rugby Club have been fantastic. They are our duck starters and duck catchers and we couldn't hold the race without them!"

Hazel's husband and carnival committee member, Wayne Clarke, 46, added: "It seems to be going well. It's good to bring the community together and there's a good turnout. The weather is holding!"

Hazel and Wayne both own Sapphire Hair and Beauty Academy, the carnival's main sponsors, and are passionate about organising the event each year along with the hardworking committee.

There 100 ducks per race, with first, second, and third place all scooping a prize.

Ellie and John Field, who attended the carnival with their children, nine-year-old Edith and eight-year-old George, said: "It's fun for the kids, for everyone, and you know it's the start of the carnival season. It's helping the community, and it's the beginning of the summer.

"There's lots more stalls and it seems to be getting bigger, which is nice to see."

The family enjoy entering the race each year, and are hopeful that one day their chosen ducks will win.

"We try and try again!" laughed Edith.

There were many stalls for families to visit at the carnival, from games and crafts to fitness and community groups.

Carole Birtwhistle, was with the team at Biggleswade Community Safety Group. She explained: "We're looking for volunteers who could give up two hours per month. We get the chance to engage with the community and young people here, and we're promoting an appeal for a new social media volunteer."

The group is looking for people who can help to "keep the town safer" and join its Streetwatch, Speedwatch or Dog Watch teams, and spent the day chatting to residents at the Duck Race.

Meanwhile, the busy food stalls were serving up a treat.

Mario Evans, director and chef at The Jerk Hub, said: "We're a local business and I'm here because I want to support the community. It's also great fun for my family, the kids. It's an old town, and it's nice to see something going on, something to help people."

Mario moved to Biggleswade from Tottenham four years ago. He said: "I started my business here. I saved and bought a trailer. I go to weddings, corporate events, festivals.

"It's more family orientated here. It's safer, and it's a better lifestyle for my children."

Hazel would like to say a big thank you to all the committee members, stall holders, businesses and groups involved with the carnival, and to everyone who came along.

She also sends a big thank you to Biggleswade Rugby Club members: Laura Critchlow, Harry Burke, Henry Elwood, Kristian Hawkins, Dave Howell, Jimmy Caulfield, and Graham Place.

Hazel concluded: "A huge thank you to Harrisons Accountancy Limited for sponsoring the event and to Biggleswade Rugby Club for keeping the ducks safe in the river for seven freezing races - seven! Thank you to Starlight Disco Biggleswade for being our fantastic compares for the day; to Masters of Defence, Everyone Active Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre, and Biggleswade United FC for their entertainment in the arena; to Ian Campbell, Andrew, Paul, Kyle, and Simon from Biggleswade Town Council for helping us set up and pack away, and for lending us equipment for the day; to Biggleswade Cricket for use of their car park and toilets; to Community Fire Station Biggleswade, PCSO Anne Jeeves, and St John Ambulance for keeping everyone safe and well and for representing our emergency services.

"Thank you to Future Action Biggleswade (FAB), Central Bedfordshire Council Recycle and Reuse, The Biggleswade Community Garden, and Biggleswade Community Safety Group for providing vital community services to the area. Thank you to our stall holders: The Gingerbread Lady, Willow Tree, K9 Centre, Personable Portraits, Virtual Sounds, The Old Crafty Bag, Cathy’s Homemade Crafts, Gillys Jewelry, Gillys Needlecraft, Creative Crafts, George C Photography, Sapphire Hair And Beauty Academy, and Sweet Alley Of Biggleswade, who donated 100 per cent of their takings; to Franks Ices and KJ Activities for donating a percentage of their profits; and thank you to our food vendors The Jerk Hub, Appy Days Catering, The Churro Boyz, Dough with the Flow, Candyfloss, Greek Street Food, and German Sausages; and to our fair holders, J W Harris and Sons Funfair, who are always amazing and also provide our power. Thank you to The Weatherley Centre for being the home of the carnival, and to JMT Highways for closing and securing the car park and traffic management and security.

"Last but by no means least, thank you to our fantastic Carnival Committee, the juniors and volunteers; even with some of the team otherwise engaged - maternity leave and some being in hospital - you guys never cease to amaze me, all your hard work and dedication is incredible, with some of you camping out overnight at the car park and others pulling 14 hour days (after you finish your day jobs, too) to bring these events to the community for free. I can’t thank you enough: Laura Katie, Sapphire Clarke, Wayne Clarke, James Turner, George Curtis, Councillor Sarju Patel, Bev Beddall, Maureen Beagley, Helen Ashton, Tracy Dorrington, Callum Hoar, Elysia Hoar, Vickie Howard, Dan Bart, Emerdie Redwood-Phillips, Megan Jones, Graham Place, Jaylin Patel, Vinaya Patel, Elsinea De Beer, Aria Jones, Caroline Broadbent, Jayne Gould, Gregg Gould, Carol Carstairs and Ken Warner. Thank you to The Biggleswade Chronicle."

Hazel Clarke, chair of Biggleswade Community Carnival Committee, said: "The turnout is probably one of the busiest, and the PCC and MP are here as well.