Eh up duck, Val’s cuddly collection is quackers

Val's obsession with ducks fills every room
Val's obsession with ducks fills every room
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Val Marks is just quackers for her little yellow friends.

The pensioner, from East Dene, Rotherham, has been expanding her duck collection for the last 25 years.

Now she has duck toilet roll holders, bath mats, vacuum covers, teddies, cushions, towels – you name it, if it’s got a duck on it, Val’s got it.

“You come to this house and you go away with duck flu,” she said.

But the duck pandemic that contaminates Val’s home isn’t entirely her own doing.

“People just started buying me ducks about 25 years ago and now everyone buys me ducks.”

The majority of Val’s ducks are on her bed and Ottoman sofa.

“I take them down when I go to bed and I put them back again – they all have a place.

“They cheer me up,” she said.

“I don’t have a man but I don’t want one – I have my ducks.”

Her favourite is ‘Rosie’, the duck imprinted on to her Hoover cover.

Val has so many ducks stuck to her bathroom wall she can no longer have showers, only baths.

But the duck collection isn’t Val’s proudest asset – that is her New World 42 gas cooker, which her late mother Grace bought more than 52 years ago – making it almost as old as 62-year-old Val.

“That was my mother’s pride and joy,” she said.

“She always said to me: ‘Look after that when I’m gone and make it last.”

Val took her mother’s advice to heart.

The cooker is in immaculate condition and still working as it did more than 50 years ago.

“I do look after it,” she says. “I wash it all with soapy water and take all the bars off when I use it.

“I also have a friend who cleans ovens for a living and she’s been and has treated it with some stuff that makes it gleam.”

And while a cooker isn’t the conventional heirloom, to Val, it’s her most precious reminder of her mum.

“Every day I use the cooker and I think of mum.

“She loved it and I hope it ends up in a museum one day.”