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The Manchester Duck Race returns on Good Friday for its biggest year yet


The Manchester Duck Race will return to the River Irwell for its 11th year on Good Friday from 11am, spurring on crowds of supporters to try their luck on a rubber duck to raise vital funds for children’s charity Brainwave. 

The yearly fundraising event has become a staple in the city’s Easter event calendar, with 2020 marking the 11th year of The Manchester Duck Race. 

The annual event features two races: a public race with miniature yellow ducks, which are available to purchase from Brainwave’s website; and a corporate race featuring giant ducks dressed up by local businesses. 

There are incredible prizes up for grabs for the fastest ducks, including a Eurocamp family holiday.

Each year the dressing of the giant ducks causes great entertainment as Manchester businesses reference key pop culture moments.

Last year’s amazing creations included Villanelle-inspired duck Billing Eve, The Quacken, Freddie Mercury from Bohemian Quacksody, and Ru Paul’s Duck Race.

Ducks are now available to purchase for the public race for as little as £1.

All funds raised from the event help to ensure that Brainwave continues to help local children with disabilities reach their full potential.

They do not receive government funding and rely on donations and fundraising events like The Manchester Duck Race to run their three main centres including the local North West Centre in Warrington, Cheshire.

“We are so delighted to be bringing The Manchester Duck Race back for its 11th year with the help of our partners at New Bailey,” said Carole Headley, Brainwave’s senior fundraising manager and event organiser.

“It’s such an incredible day out for all the family and in addition to the duck race, there will be thrilling fairground rides, fabulous celebrity guests, wonderful music and entertainment from our media partner Smooth Radio, a range of delicious food stalls, incredible performers and much, much more. There’s an amazing atmosphere on the day.” 

Photo: Gary Brown

New Bailey has been the central hub, and an avid supporter of the Duck Race for four years. During this time, the New Bailey scheme has changed beyond all recognition, from a once under-utilised car park, to a bustling business and leisure neighbourhood. 

The development is being delivered by the English Cities Fund – a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal & General and Homes England, in partnership with Salford City Council. 

Phil Mayall, regional director at The English Cities Fund, said: “The work Brainwave does for local children living with disabilities is such a lifeline to those families, and it is always fantastic to see the local community come out in force at The Manchester Duck Race to support them.

“We hope that this year’s fundraiser will be bigger than ever, and I’d encourage any local businesses to do what they can to back Brainwave by picking up a corporate duck of their own.”

Carole went on to say: “The children we work with achieve incredible milestones by being on a Brainwave Therapy Programme.”

“Whether you buy a £1 duck, your company sponsors one of our big corporate ducks or you just come along on the day to soak up the atmosphere – you’ll be helping a child with disabilities access our specialised Therapy Programme and achieve greater independence.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the New Bailey Team who not only welcome us to stage the event on the New Bailey site each year but also support this event so enthusiastically. 

“I’d also like to thank Smooth Radio and I Love MCR for their continued support in helping us spread the word about The Manchester Duck Race – helping us to raise lots of money for Brainwave.”

All ducks are collected from the river after the race and are recycled. 

The Manchester Duck Race takes place on Good Friday, 10th April 2020, from 11am.


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