In 2014 Thurrock Council worked with Dr William Bird and Beat the Street encouraging local residents to walk a 25,000-mile journey, over six weeks.
Debbie Maynard, head of Public Health invited Kinetika to build a legacy and create a festival to raise awareness of the places people could walk in Thurrock.
The aim of Thurrock 100 was to walk 10 miles a day for 10 days continuously, geographically taking in the whole borough. Working with Thurrock CVS and 19 community hubs, local people devised a list of places that highlighted the rich diversity of Thurrock’s landscape and its strategically important position along the Thames Estuary.
Peter Woodard, a keen walker with excellent mapping skills, strung this list into a series of marked routes. Kinetika artists, Ali Pretty and Jacci Todd visited 10 schools, students drew the places we would visit, and designs were scaled up onto 10 x 4m hand-painted silk flags.
By July 2015, all routes were online, and printed into ten maps. With our flags flying, led by Peter, we set off from South Ockendon.
On day 1, we carried one flag, and each subsequent day we added another. We were welcomed by schools and communities, joined by walkers and non-walkers alike as we trekked through small farming villages of Horndon-on-the Hill and Orsett, got our silk caught on telephone cables outside the Bata town of East Tilbury, tramped through Lakeside shopping centre, paraded around High House Production Park, ran through Fobbing and Stanford-Le-Hope, climbed over Langdon Hills and hiked back down to the river with 1500 teenagers from Gateway Academy to be chased by wild horses across Tilbury Marshes, before walking the mile-long graffiti sea wall into Grays, where hundreds joined us for the final procession into the local festival Village Beach.
“I run with the Thurrock Nomads Running Club, we are social runners and specialise in running the lesser known routes throughout the borough. Ali trusted me to devise 10 interesting routes of 10 miles each. Although a challenging distance over ten days, a great feeling of camaraderie built up and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. For me, the greatest reward was hearing so many people remark ‘This is lovely, I have lived here for 25 years and I never knew this existed’.”
2015 CREDITS AND THANKS
FUNDERS Arts Council England; Thurrock Council
DELIVERY PARTNERS Thurrock Council Public Health team; Thurrock CVS; 19 Thurrock Community Forums
KINETIKA Ali Pretty, Artistic Director; Nicky Webb, Marketing/PR
ARTISTS Ali Pretty; Jacci Todd
WALK LEADERS Peter Woodard; Phil Edgar
SCHOOLS Gateway Academy; East Tilbury Primary; Bulphan Primary; Horndon Primary; Aveley Primary; Abbotts Hall; Tudor Court; Chadwell St Mary Primary; Shaw Primary; Thameside Academy
LOCAL VENUES Little Belhus Park; The Little Belhus Elizabethan Lodge; Mardyke Woods; Davy Down pumping station; Saffron Hall; Horndon CE Primary School; Orsett Churches Centre; St Clement’s Church; RSPB Visitor Centre; Purfleet Heritage Centre; Essex Wildlife Trust Thameside Nature Park; Grays Chalk Pit; Chafford Gorges Nature Park; Bata Shoe Factory site; Coalhouse Fort; St Catherine’s Church; Tilbury Fort; Chadwell Place; Aveley Community Forum; Kennington Park; Grays Beach; Hangman’s Wood; Crawford Avenue Community Centre
THANKS TO Thurrock Marching Band; HW Wilson Ltd; Snow and Rock Romford; Metal Culture – Village Beach Festival; Thurrock Rugby Club
PHOTOS Mike Johnston
“Thurrock CVS was pleased to welcome Kinetika to Thurrock in 2014 as they brought opportunities, skills and knowledge to the borough. The possibilities of us working in partnership to bring communities together through art and activity was very exciting. Those that became involved in the project were extremely proud to showcase their artwork across the borough. We also saw the benefits of participants becoming fitter, losing weight, reducing medication and making connections. Thurrock 100 has left a long lasting legacy in Thurrock.”
Chief Executive Officer, Thurrock CVS