2019 was a 15-day walk from our home in Purfleet down to Southend, over to the Isle of Sheppey, up the Hoo Peninsula, all the way to Gravesend and back to Tilbury. We were on mission to meet new people and see the places that we already know from a fresh perspective, starting a conversation that might change the way we think about the future.
Our contemporary pilgrimage began in the footsteps of many who have gone before, along the sea wall down to St. Clements’ Church. Sunday revealed secrets of Purfleet, once famous for pyramids of juicy apples and the Mardyke Valley where our water comes from at Davy Down.
Monday, we were at Lakeside for Spanish paella and Chafford Gorges for some drawing with artist Jo Beal. Tuesday, we sauntered through the pretty village of Orsett and along to a barbecue hosted by the Community Hub at Chadwell St. Mary. Wednesday, led by Winnie Nyamu and Melvin Ndebele we headed out to West Tilbury across fields of wheat for tea and home-made cakes at St. Catherine’s Church in East Tilbury, where we were blessed by a song from Les Morgan.
Friday’s feel good walk was around Canvey Island led by Phil Easteal. Saturday, we visited the vegetable gardens at Hadleigh Tearooms before processing in with flags to Global Village at the Village Green festival in Chalkwell Park.
Sunday was a shared picnic in Southchurch Park with Nina’s vegetarian samosas and Attila’s goulash thanks to Southend’s Hindu and Hungarian Associations.
Week two signalled the first river crossing, courtesy of Neil Woodbridge and the Thames Estuary Yacht Club. By the time we reached LV21 in Gravesend, we’d clocked up 198 miles.
A rainbow appeared on the ferry crossing back over to Tilbury. What a home-coming this was, as we reunited for Tilbury Carnival, dancing in the streets with Twirlers, Irish dancers, Sea Cadets, bouncy puppets and brass bands, singing with choirs, skanking to the reggae tunes down at the Cruise Terminal, chomping on Romanian pastries as the whole journey completed with an emotional finale that brought the community together for one last dance.
“Over the last five years, we’ve been made very welcome in Thurrock. This summer is the culmination of the strong partnerships we’ve forged and personal connections we’ve nurtured here. We’d like to thank the huge team of local people for preparing and leading walks, hosting and feeding us all the way round, for participating in Carnival and for making the Thames Estuary on both sides of the river a fascinating, rich and inventive place to live and work.”
Artistic Director, Kinetika
2019 CREDITS AND THANKS
FUNDERS Arts Council England; Thurrock Council; Active Travel & Forward Motion
DELIVERY PARTNERS Tilbury on the Thames Trust; Port of Tilbury; Thurrock International Celebration of Culture; C2C; BBC Essex; One Community Development Trust; Southend Hindu Association; Simply Stride
KINETIKA Ali Pretty, Artistic Director; Jo Beal, Project Manager; Michaela Freeman, Project Manager for the Southend Flags project; Edwina Rigby, Marketing; Jules Easlea, PR; Donna Plakhtienko, Business Manager
ARTISTS Ali Pretty; Jacci Todd; Lisa Meehan; Sally Chinea; Hazel Huber; Lesley Robinson; Margaret Hall; Sofie Layton; Ray Mahabir; Jeanefer Jean-Charles
WALK LEADERS Lesley Robinson; Mike Ostler and Steve Green; Aisling Woodhead; Yolande Simmons; Winnie Nyamu; Melvin Ndebele; Steve Green; Phil Easteal; Sally Chinea; Hazel Huber; Chris Reed; Joan Bullivant; Colin Alderman; Kirsty Gaunt; Phil Painter; Clive Gilbert; Phil Edgar
LOCAL VENUES The Grays Beach Riverside Park café; St Clement’s Church; All Saints Church, Chafford Hundred; Thurrock Thameside Nature Park; The Salvation Army Hadleigh Training Centre; Belfairs Woodland Centre; Southchurch Hall; Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities; Abbey Gatehouse Museum, Minster; The Hot Tin; Lightship LV21
SCHOOLS Chase High School, Southend
THANKS TO Geoff Stringfellow; Gerry Hughes; Hi Ching; Steve Catchpole; Gary Houghton, The High House Community Group; Paul Hellen, High House Production Park; Sarah Rivett, Intu Lakeside; La Tasca Restaurant; Peter Saunders, Barbara Chalker and Phil Edgar, Chadwell St Mary Community Forum; Les Morgan; Sue Spiers, St Catherine’s Church, East Tilbury; Colin Saunders; George’s Fish and Chips; Alison Harris, The Dutch Cottage Museum; The Canvey Club; The Lobster Smack; Lindsay Payne; Wendy Berry, The Salvation Army Hadleigh Training Centre; Nina Chavda and Anju Lund, the Southend Hindu Association; Julianna Káldi-Hegyi and Attila Kaldi, Hungarian Community of Southend; Mrs Volante; Southend Council; Chris Reed, Geoff Reed, Jo Eden, Big Fish Arts & Rose Street Cottage of Curiosities; Janys Thornton, Mark Allinson, Neil Woodbridge, Thames Estuary Yacht Club; The Harty Ferry Inn; The Shipwright’s Arms; Wink Walpole; Alan King, Paul Best, Kemsley and Sittingbourne Light Railway; Nina Robinson, Cathy Mayers, Thames and Medway Canal Association; Simply Stride; John Rowles (Chair), Purfleet Community Hub; Michelle Liggins, Community Church, Chadwell; Pastor Abraham, Bola Daniels, The Redeemed Christian Church Of God Fruitful Land; Annie O’Brien, Tilbury Riverside Project; Rev Charlie Kosla and Lize Ringleman, All Saints Church; Thameside Theatre, Culture and Language Around The Table group; Jewish Connect; Welcome to the UK group, HMRC Southend BAPS
PHOTOS Mike Johnston
“We got involved in T100 because its aim resonates with our vision to inspire residents to work actively together to do what is best for themselves and their local community. T100 has supported the aspirations of individuals since physical and mental wellbeing are essential components of a thriving community. Over the years T100 has given focus to volunteers on our VIP programme along their journey of building confidence and resilience to fuel their pathway to employment.”
Chief Executive, One Community Development Trust