Harrow Rotary’s Rubber Duck Derby raises funds for Harrow Daycare, Colchester Guardian

by Sylene Argent

Beneath a sunny sky and through calm waves, members of the Harrow Rotary Club released around 1200 racers near the shoreline at Colchester Beach on Saturday as part of the fourth annual Rubber Duck Derby.

  Corrie Bramhall, Fundraising Chairperson of the Harrow Rotary Club, said this year’s event was held a little bit differently than it was held in the past, due to COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. The local service club, she said, was not sure what fundraisers it could host and what restrictions there would be to host such events.

  At the July 6 Essex Council meeting, Council approved forwarding $1,000 to the Harrow Rotary Club for the Rubber Duck Derby from the Essex Tourism Events Fund. These funds were used to purchase prizes for the event from local businesses.   

  “Usually, we go to small businesses and larger businesses in town and always ask for sponsorships, whether it would be financial, door prizes, anything like that. This year, what we did, we’ve gone back through the last three-years of the events, found out which businesses supported us, and we purchased gift certificates to these businesses as our prizes,” Brimhall said.

  “That’s a way of helping our community, who supported us for so many years. We are just trying to give back to as many people as we can,” she added, noting many businesses were challenged with disruptions and lockdowns this year, due to COVID-19.

  “The response has been so overwhelmingly positive,” Brimhall said of the community support shown to the Rubber Duck Derby, which included sponsorships from Engie Wind Farms and Atlas Tube, in addition to the Town of Essex.

  The sponsors, she added, have been extremely generous and understanding of the restrictions that had to be put in place for the event. With it being a hard time for many, during a time of uncertainty, she was also pleased with the response from those who supported the event with purchasing tickets.

  Brimhall said around 1200 tickets were sold.

  “I wasn’t sure what to expect” Brimhall said of the event outcome. “I am so proud of our community, I am so proud of our Rotary members for pulling together and pulling this off, this was better than I expected.”

  The first-place prize, given the individual whose rubber duck reached the shoreline first during the derby, received gift certificates to five local businesses, which had a minimum value of $300. In total, ten prizes were awarded, with last prize being a gift certificate with a value of $50.  

  Proceeds of the Rubber Duck Derby will support the Harrow Daycare, for new playground equipment, and the Colchester Guardian.

  Brimhall said the Harrow Rotary Club tries to change-up the beneficiaries every year, but does try to continue to support the Colchester Guardian as its crew launches the ducks.

  This year, Brimhall said, the Colchester Guardian’s governing body would not allow its crew to assist with public events, so they used their personal fishing boats and kayaks to help out.

  The Harrow Rotary Club currently has nearly 20 members, and volunteers are always welcome to join.