Dozens of rubber ducks were released into a Cotswold river to raise money for NHS charities.

NHS Charities Together fundraising group Movid-19, held a duck race on the River Evenlode in Charlbury to top up funds.

The fun event, last weekend, saw scores of plastic water fowl, sponsored by members of the public, released for a series of heats, followed by a grand finale.

The money raised will help provide funding grants for healthcare workers, supporting their mental health and wellbeing, providing expenses for travel and fundraising.

Organiser Richard Wood said: “The country is crying out for live sport, and we hoped to provide some high octane competitive action that people could cheer on from the safety of their own homes, while fundraising for the brave healthcare workers keeping us safe throughout the pandemic.”

Each sponsored duck was given a wacky outfit. Taking part were ducks dressed as police officers, gangsters and pirates.

The racing ducks were also given comical names such as, Napoleon Flownaparte, a French duck called Canhardley Wait ('canard' being the French word for duck), and a Santa themed duck called Christmas Quaker.

A mobster-style creation was called Ducksy Malone.

The rubber ducks competed in six separate heats.

The course was 50 meters long with some sections of rapids.

The event was streamed to Facebook Live so people responsibly observing social distancing able to watch their sponsored duck – and 'virtually' cheer them along!

The duck race fundraising event was set up by Dr Zak Cole-Healy, a surgical doctor in Manchester, and is one of many fundraising events nationally for NHS Charities Together.

Since healthcare workers working during the pandemic have been required to shave their beards in order to allow protective masks to fit properly, and can leave only a moustache, Dr Cole-Healy and his friends pledged to grow moustaches throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in a show of solidarity with NHS colleagues and volunteers.

The moustache or 'mo' growing fun gave its name to the name of the fundraising effort – Movid-19. The group has raised almost £27,000 in two months and support is continuing to grow around the country.

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Dr Cole-Healy said: “By joining the Movid-19 team or donating to our members, you have an opportunity to boost morale, show solidarity, and raise vital funds for the thousands of staff working tirelessly to save lives.”

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