Big Duck Gets the Crowds Going Quackers Leading the Floral Flotilla

Big Duck, the large yellow inflatable duck which first appeared on the river last summer at Henley Regatta and Festival led the Chelsea Fringe Henley Floral Flotilla on Sunday after Herald Editor, Michaela Clarke got in touch with owner Timothy Dodd-Wilson via Facebook to invite him to join the flotilla after his plans to go up river to the Royal Wedding were thwarted.

To the delight of the big crowds on the footpath, Big Duck who got dressed up for the occasion with a floral necklace, led a flotilla of beautifully decorated boats from Mill Meadows down to end of Eyot Island back up through Henley bridge and turning around at Phyllis Court Club.

Many of the boats were returning for the fourth annual Floral Flotilla including 1st Henley Brownies who were kindly loaned a boat by Hobbs of Henley to take part in this year.  They decorated their boat with bunting, balloons, flowers and a flamingo!  Lyndon Yorke drove one of his famous amphibious cars again which this year had two large decorated bay trees with inflatable strawberries hanging down from them.  Pete and Fiona Jennings joined in again too in their wooden rowing boat ‘Dipper’ which had a royal wedding theme with union jack and American flags on the seats and Pete and Fiona wearing Harry and Meghan masks.

A huge cheer from the Angel on the Bridge terrace was heard when Big Duck got through Henley bridge after a bit of trouble getting under the central arch and had to be deflated slightly. Timothy said, “Michaela’s suggestion led to a fun day out. Henley bridge was a bit tricky as the river was about 6-8” higher then last year at Regatta.”  Watch the video below:


Posted by Jessica Sinclair on Sunday, 20 May 2018

Victoria Newton who organised the event said,“I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t have as many boats registered in the run up to the flotilla as last year but then we had a few last minute entries, including the Big Duck and the standard of decoration exceeded all expectations on all of the boats. Thanks to Hobbs of Henley  for providing a boat free of charge for the Brownies to be able to join in again. The sunshine, music, boats and passers by all combined to create a very special event. Thank you too to the Town Council for use of the moorings.”