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Giant rubber duck Lily is taken on a tour of the Thames at Lechlade

A librarian has helped raise more than £8,800 for the RNLI after taking a giant rubber duck on a tour of the River Thames.

Ros Fernley, and his friend Timothy Dodd-Wilson spent the last month taking the 14-foot-tall duck along the Thames for charity, raising £8,824.51 in total.

Timothy chose the RNLI after being present in the town of Penlee, Cornwall, when, in 1981, 16 people died when a lifeboat crew tried to save people from a stranded vessel in extreme weather.

The ‘Big Duck’, known as Lily, first started its journey in Wargrave on Tuesday, June 15, travelling upstream to Lechlade then downstream to Teddington RNLI lifeboat station.

The tour saw the duck visit a host of events on the Thames, including Henley Royal Regatta.

Ros said: “Big Duck has been a regular at both Henley Regatta and Festival for the past three years and it always gets a lot of attention. This was a journey to make people smile and raise money at the same time.

“Not many people would have seen a 14-foot-tall duck before so people always want to take pictures or stop to look.”

He added that he loved seeing how people smiled when they saw the duck, with other boats skippers even going below and three people popping up to take pictures.

“We’ve had so many donations and so many people offering kindness in terms of giving us lifts to get petrol as well as monetary donations, including my colleagues at the libraries. The kindness and generosity we have experienced has really restored my faith in people.

“Many riverside dwellers and river users are already big supporters of the RNLI and they have also been very generous with donations. It also feels fantastic to see the public so willing to support a great cause. All the money raised will go towards helping people across the country and keeping them safe on our inland waterways and at sea.”

Donations are still welcome, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bigducksbigadventure

steve clarke
Author: steve clarke