The Runnymede on Thames sits on a spot of the River Thames that has a perfect blend of tranquillity and vibrant riverside life. With Bell Weir Lock nearby, the thrumming River Thames towpath and gorgeous views up and down the river, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular spot. There’s wildlife aplenty in the area too, with swans, deer, parakeets, sparrow-hawks and the occasional kingfisher, if you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse. There are plenty of ducks too, including our very own resident geese…
The resident ducks at The Runnymede on Thames – Cleo and Patra – decided they liked the hotel so much, they wanted to stay. If only we could all stay in the hotel forever! They’re Egyptian geese – part of the duck family considered sacred to the Ancient Egyptians, hence their names. If you’ve ever seen Ancient Egyptian artwork, you may well have spotted some ducks that look just like our Cleo and Patra.
Our resident ducks are fed every morning at 8:30 and again in the afternoon at 16:30. Certainly our most demanding guests. If they’re not fed at these times, they tend to march up to the front doors of the hotel to remind us they are waiting for their food! Funnily enough, they seem to know the difference between hotel staff and guests – we think it’s due to our uniforms!
To embrace our location full of wildlife and to let guests take a little bit of our duck story home with them, we’re partners with DCUK – The Duck Company. Their story is pretty remarkable too. A pair of brothers went on a trip to Indonesia in 2000 to buy some furniture for their Devon shop. They stumbled upon some workers harvesting rice who were experimenting with carving ducks from discarded bamboo roots in their spare time, taking inspiration from the fine grain in the bamboo that looked like duck feathers. These brothers purchased some of these creations and brought them back to Devon with them.
The rest is history. People loved these Indonesian duck creations and DCUK – The Duck Company was born. Working with a designer to bring some humour to their duck creations, the company’s ducks now come in all sorts of attire – from wellington boots and rain hats to chef aprons and police uniforms! Best of all, DCUK – The Duck Company now employs more than 200 people in Indonesia. Carving and painting in this intricate way is a skill that has been passed down through generations, so the company is also helping to preserve an age-old tradition as well as provide stable income for many local people at twice the local minimum wage.
We sell a selection of these ducks in our lobby. Maybe you’ll find your very own Cleo and Patra to take home with you – we’re certain they’ll be less demanding than our pair!