ORGANISERS of the Cliviger May Day Duck Race half expected a ransom note when one of the cut-out ducks advertising the event was stolen on Sunday night.
The wooden waterfowl were placed on fences and gateposts around the parish by volunteers in anticipation of the annual event set to take place on Monday and had drawn some appreciative attention from locals since they appeared.
Neil Whalley, one of the organisers, said it looked like someone driving by in a car had ripped up the post the duck was attached to and driven away with it.
He said: “Someone said they thought it might have been stolen for ransom but I think someone’s just pinched it.”
The fund-raisers hope to sell 2000 ducks at £1 each in order to raise money for much-needed repairs to the roof of St John’s Church as well as beginning a fund towards a proposed coffee area for parishioners.
There will be activities and stalls by the RACA Park on Park Road from 2 p.m. on the day with the race itself set to start at 3 p.m.
At that point all the ducks sold will be released from a bag provided by sponsors Travis Perkins of Acrington and poured into the water and the race will begin.
First duck past the post will win £100 for its owner, with a £50 prize for second place and £25 for the duck finishing in third place.
1600 ducks have been sold so far as well as support being offered by local businesses Alderson & Horan, Alert Security and Dine Cafe among others.
There are still ducks for sale and anyone who wants to buy one can either go along and get one on the day or call Neil Whalley on 07976 243395.