Duck race brings this year’s St Edmunds Wheel Bike Ride to an end

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Today’s record-breaking bike ride, organised by the St Edmunds Wheel Trust, was brought to a colourful end with a duck race in the Abbey Gardens.

The charity, which had only 70 cyclists take part in its first bike ride 16 years ago, saw its highest number of entries today, with more than 700 cyclists participating in this morning’s event.

As groups returned to the gardens in Bury St Edmunds, they were greeted by refreshments and live music.

Then, shortly before 1pm, crowds began to gather on the bridge in the gardens, anticipating the start of the annual duck race, which sees 1,000 plastic ducks dropped into the River Lark.

All St Edmunds Wheel cyclists are automatically entered into the race, with any spares sold off at £2 each.

The first three ducks across the finish line win cash prizes, with the top prize being £200.

Ian Turner, one of the charity’s three main organisers, said: “The duck race this year was very successful due to having two helpers in the water. It took quarter of an hour from start to finish. We had quite a few spectators - the children love it and the adults do too. It’s a novelty and people enjoy the fun of seeing a thousand ducks jump into the river and float down.”

He added: “The funds go to St Edmunds Wheel so it’s another little fund-raiser.”

Today’s events are expected to bring the total raised by the charity to more than £200,000 in 16 years, with St Nicholas Hospice Care and the Bury Free Press Beat It! appeal to benefit from this year’s funds.

The winning ducks were yellow 572, red 416 and purple 167.