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PICTURES: Marybank Primary sees return of River Conon duck race to help ensure kids get on trips


By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Inverness Canoe Club paddlers and duck rescue crew (from left) Ruth Mantle, Willie Macleod, Calum MacDonald, Neil MacDonald, Lachlann MacDonald and Jonathan Willet with Marybank Primary Parent helper, Roddy Cormack. Picture: Eleanor MacDonald
Inverness Canoe Club paddlers and duck rescue crew (from left) Ruth Mantle, Willie Macleod, Calum MacDonald, Neil MacDonald, Lachlann MacDonald and Jonathan Willet with Marybank Primary Parent helper, Roddy Cormack. Picture: Eleanor MacDonald

Pupils at a Ross-shire primary school enjoyed a fun splash at the weekend on the River Conon, all to raise funds to help towards their annual end of term outdoor trips.

Volunteers on the Marybank Primary Parent Council helped to bring back a local traditional Duck Race, where 1000 plastic ducks were launched into the river from Moy Bridge near Marybank.

The 2023 Duck Race took place on Sunday, November 19 followed by an afternoon tea party at the Fairburn Memorial Hall in Marybank. Hundreds attended, raising much-needed cash to support the costs for the children to take part in trips and excursions.

Locals had an opportunity to win raffle prizes donated by many local businesses.

And away they go! Picture: Eilidh Thomson
And away they go! Picture: Eilidh Thomson

It was organised by local parents and volunteers, including a qualified team of Inverness Canoe Club members who recovered all the ducks at the finish line.

Eleanor MacDonald, Marybank Primary Parent Council secretary, said: “Organising this fundraising community event really brought our community together with the river banks lined with supporters. The Parent Council volunteers welcomed everyone back to the local hall to warm up and share news with friends enjoying lots of home bakes.

“Donations from the day will go towards the primary school’s term time activities and excursions. We are incredibly grateful for the support from the Fairburn Memorial Hall and many of our local businesses who have given raffle prizes and made donations!"

The ducks make their progress down the river. Picture courtesy George Finlayson.
The ducks make their progress down the river. Picture courtesy George Finlayson.
Paddlers prepared to retrieve the ducks – all 1000 of them!
Paddlers prepared to retrieve the ducks – all 1000 of them!

The 2023 Duck Race follows on from a tradition of previous duck races on the River Conon. The event raised over £1500 and unlocked the support of grant funding from local sources for which families in both Marybank Primary and Strathconon Primary will benefit from through the resulting opportunities.

Donations received from the Fairburn Memorial Hall, Munro’s Nurseries, The Potter’s House, Muir of Ord Golf Club, Highland Pet and Equine Supplies, Black Isle Brewery, Roller Bowl Inverness, Coul House Hotel, Harry Gow’s Bakery, Munros Butcher, M&S, Mark Bell Guitar Tuition, Lidils Dingwall, Tesco Dingwall, Cockburn Butcher, Animal Health, The Auld Sweetshop Inverness, The Priory Beauly and Tomatin Distillery.

Support to the school has also been given from Dingwall Rotary Club which was an enormous surprise and everyone was incredibly appreciative of this investment in our young people.

A grant was also received this week towards the costs of P6 and P7 outdoor education days received from Foundation Scotland of the EDF Renewables Corriemoillie, Marybank, Scatwell & Strathconon Community Fund.


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