IRECENTLY took a friend to the Southport spinal unit and, having a couple of hours to spare, I went for a walk in the sun.

I had seen a pair of mallards with 11 ducklings walking down by a chain link fence and, when I returned, they were still there making repeated attempts to return to the river on the other side.

I realised their direction of travel would lead them to busy roads. Further along the fence, I found the small hole. When I returned the male flew over the fence, leaving its mate and ducklings still attempting to get through.

Trying to reverse the direction of the female duck by wafting my newspaper only resulted in the duck feigning death.

Having got close to her a number of times, she finally lost her fear and turned round and followed, ducklings in tow. I was joined by a father and children who said people where watching the performance from the hospital windows.

Finally, after an hour's perseverance, we arrived at the gap and we all cheered as mother and company made it through and back to the river. Judging by the racket from the other side of the fence, everyone else was cheering as well.

How heart-warming and what a contrast to the story I read in The Bolton News where three "men" had been seen shooting ducks at a local beauty spot.

If they want to have real live targets, why don't they sign up and go to Iraq or Afghanistan? Oh yes, you are right! Ducks don't fight back, do they?

Roy Caswell, Beverley Road, Bolton