GALLERY: Kenilworth Lions' Royal Duck Progress

By Sue Meads

19th May 2023 | Local Features

Kenilworth Lions has held a traditional Duck Race in Finham Brook on Boxing Day for over 30 years.

But due to current building works in Abbey Fields - and some safety concerns - we were unable to hold its Duck Race in December 2022.

The Duck Race is a fundraising event for the Kenilworth Lions, so not to be defeated we put our thinking caps on and came up with what was initially seen as a "mad idea"!

We wanted to be involved in the community over the Coronation weekend, and following initial planning we set out to sell our Alternative Duck Race Tickets over Easter.

The Kenilworth public did not let us down and tickets sold quickly.

A single prize of £500 was announced for the winning duck which we named the 'Golden Duck' and the winner was even presented with an actual golden duck to keep along with their prize.

Kenilworth Lions found a new way of bringing the annual duck race to Kenilworth (image via Kenilworth Lions)

The event was named The Royal Duck Progress - the idea taken from the Royal Progress of Queen Elizabeth I to Kenilworth Castle in 1575.

The Duck Race Chair was 'Queen of Ducks' supported by her Lion President. As befit such status we travelled around Kenilworth in a beautiful Vintage Bentley. Following behind was the 'Keeper of the Ducks' and our 'Royal Photographer'.

Our 1,500 ducks instead of racing down the river went on a progress with the Queen Duck and the Lions President to five venues around Kenilworth. At each venue, 12 ducks were chosen and placed in the Golden Chalice.

We attended the Roseland Road Street Party and the Sunningdale Avenue Street Party. We also went to Waitrose, The Wyandotte Pub and Newlands Care Home.

The ducks went on a tour of the town before heading to the castle (image via Kenilworth Lions)

Onward to the Castle

We now had 60 Ducks in our Golden Chalice.

One of the most amazing sights was coming down Castle Hill and seeing a mass of yellow tabards behind the castle gate cheering us. So many Lions and a mayor!

We were very grateful to the castle allowing us to drive in through the North Gate.

The plan was for the successful 60 ducks to swim in Queen Elizabeth's Royal Fountain in the Elizabethan Garden – sadly shortly before the event we were informed it leaked!! But nothing will deter a Lion!

Our Ducks were presented to the Mayor of Kenilworth who duly chose the winning duck - which was number 330.

The ducks travelled in style on their way to Kenilworth Castle (image via Kenilworth Lions)

On 7 May we presented one of our lovely Kenilworth residents with her prize and a Golden Duck.

Our thanks go to everyone who bought Duck Race Tickets to support us, everyone who joined in with our event, Waitrose for allowing us to sell tickets at their store and the amazing Tom who donated his time and drove us around Kenilworth in his stunning Vintage Bentley Car

Kenilworth Lions are hoping the traditional Duck Race will be able to go ahead in Abbey Fields on Boxing Day 2023 – Watch this space!

A selection of images can be seen in the gallery at the top of the page.


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