SERVICEMEN and women from RAF Brize Norton helped to raise £16,500 for charity at a giant duck race.

More than 30 RAF personnel and 20 members of the 2267 (Brize Norton) Squadron of the Air Training Corps helped as marshals at the event in Lechlade, which was organised by the station’s charities committee in aid of the Royal Air Forces Association and the Cotswold Water Park Trust.

More than 6,000 people attended the event on the bank holiday Monday at the start of the month, which included a race of 4,000 ducks, started by Olympic rowing legend Sir Matthew Pinsent, fun fair, inflatable rides, craft tents, trading stalls and mobile farm.

Four-time Olympic rowing gold medallist Matthew Pinsent started the race, which was held on the River Thames. Prizes of tickets for family activities were given to the first 20 finishers.

Organiser Sgt Ali Hedworth, a Hercules air loadmaster serving with 24 Squadron, said: “The fantastic support we received from both the general public and the local community meant that we raised a huge sum for our charities.”

Sgt Hedworth added that the turnout was three times the number of people expected and there had been problems with traffic jams, with two extra fields having to be opened for parking.

He added: “Now we know the scale of the event, we will engage more with highways officials and make sure there are police on site next year.”