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What the duck: Twin town titles in transatlantic waterfowl coincidence

A transatlantic coincidence saw two weekly newspapers in twin towns report on duck rescues on both sides of the pond.

The North Devon Gazette, based in Barnstaple, reported last Thursday how local police had saved two mother ducks and 10 ducklings which were waddling along a busy road bridge.

The very next day in Barnstaple’s twin town of Barnstable, in the US state of Massachusetts, the Cape Cod Times covered the rescue a clutch of ducklings which had fallen into a storm drain as their mother crossed the road to reach a nearby pond.

After noticing the Gazette’s coverage of the Devon duck rescue, the Times got in touch to report the coincidence.

The Devon-based ducks after their ordeal

The Devon-based ducks after their ordeal

Gazette editor Andy Keeble told HTFP: “It was a bizarre, but happy coincidence. We ran the North Devon duck rescue story last week after being sent a great set of pictures by a local photographer.

“The Cape Cod Times digital editor saw our story online and called on Monday to explain that they’d reported a duck rescue story of their own. We swapped pics, giving both papers a quirky follow-up about police rescuing ducks on both sides of the pond.

“Barnstaple, North Devon, and Barnstable, Massachusetts, have been twinned for many years and we’ve worked together informally before, usually sharing pics from respective civic visits.”

Of their coverage of the duck rescue, Times managing editor Linda Corcoran told the Gazette: “It’s a fun story for us and nothing really grabs the public attention like an animal story.

“I think people are looking for happy stories mixed in with everything else., It’s not really the type of rescue we see every day, we are more used to water rescues because we are surrounded by the ocean, but it’s nice to know even the tiniest members of our community are being cared for in this way.”

Last year the Gazette was the first UK paper to report a story about an Ilfracombe grandmother, who mistakenly called police in the American town to report a crash while driving home from Barnstaple.