Whenever someone asks Doug Davidson to buy a raffle ticket, he buys it.

"One assumes it's more of a donation than a reality of winning."

So the journalist was "rather overjoyed" when his duck, number 1266, won the Plumber Dan Duck Race on October 20. He had publicised the event, but hadn't bothered to go along and watch.

"The first I heard, was when I got an email from the boss. She said 'Congratulations. You will be shouting'. Then I got an email from a friend in Australia. He said 'You must be rich'."

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Read more: Get your rubber ducky ready for annual Whanganui River race
Plumber Dan Duck Race on Whanganui River raises $12,000-plus for Jigsaw Whanganui

Davidson got the cash money and shouted morning tea for his office colleagues. He wouldn't call himself a highly paid journalist, but he gave $100 back to Jigsaw.

He's a former teacher of history, economics and social studies at Whanganui City College. He took on the job at a weekly paper after returning from six years' teaching overseas, at a time when he had no desire to go back into the classroom.

"Teaching is more highly paid but journalism is much more rewarding. It's the variety of people and subjects that you come across," he said.

In the October 20 race, about 2000 ducks were dropped off Whanganui's Dublin St Bridge and floated downstream to a finish line.

The total raised was $14,200 for Jigsaw Whanganui.

It was a huge result, executive officer Tim Metcalfe said, and he was incredibly grateful to Plumber Dan for his organisation's effort. The race made for a good occasion too.

"So many people knew about it, and were just so keen to buy tickets and support it, and the massive crowd all along the river was unbelievable."

Added to other resources, the fundraising has helped his organisation fill a vacancy in its social work team.

"That makes a huge difference to our responsiveness to families," he said.