THE winner of Bibury’s annual Boxing Day duck race was presented with his charity cheque at The Swan Inn in the village last Friday (February 9) by event organiser Les Smith, chairman of Bibury Cricket Club.

Paul Gentry, who lost his 16-year-old daughter Izzy to meningitis in May 2016, donated his winnings from the race to Gloucestershire-based charity Meningitis Now.

The annual event, which began about 30 years ago, sees 150 full-sized numbered decoy ducks take part in the race over a fixed course of the River Coln.

Entry is £10, with the winner scooping the prize for a charity of their choice.

There’s also a second race using small yellow plastic ducks which costs £1 to enter with prizes for the first 20 finishers and the last duck to complete the course.

Paul was staying at the Swan Hotel over Christmas with his wife Helen when he heard about the race and decided to have a go.

“You can appreciate the win was quite an emotional experience,” he said. “I think Izzy was actually pushing the duck along.

“It was an easy choice to pass it on to Meningitis Now, who have been there for us ever since Izzy died.”

Meningitis Now’s Regional Fundraiser Carrie Bater, who collected the cheque, added: “We’re really grateful to Paul for his kind donation and his continuing support of our work.

“Since the tragic death of his daughter Paul has tirelessly raised money for us and awareness of this devastating disease – we cannot thank him enough for his efforts.”

Meningitis Now is working towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need.

It does this by funding research into vaccines and prevention, raising awareness so people know what to look for and what action to take if they suspect meningitis and rebuilding futures by providing dedicated support to people living with the impact of the disease.

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