The Big Lunch, organised by Thurrock Council, was held for the sixth year running and there was a general consensus it is getting better year-on-year.
Cllr Richard Speight, the council’s portfolio holder for communities, said: “The Big Lunch is a great chance for people to come together, meet and talk to their neighbours and learn about what’s on offer in and around their neighbourhood and this year’s was bigger and better than ever.”
The event included free activities including themed sports, a climbing wall, crafts, and information stands galore, offering a chance to meet new people and have fun – in all there were 65 stands crammed into the park.
The Grays Mosque hosted an visitors, and Adetokunbo Sowunmi, of the Grays franchise of Subway, handed out water, cookies and free food vouchers to many of the people there.
And the top Beat the Street Thurrock players were also at the event to receive their certificates, prizes and cheques at The Big Lunch from GP Dr William Bird MBE, founder of Intelligent Health, the company appointed by Thurrock Council to lead Beat the Street Thurrock.
Tai Chi for Health (Essex) totted up the most points taking first prize and winning £1000 for their chosen charity, Sugarloaf Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).
Team leader Trevor Rawson also took a special prize as adult who walked the furthest during the game.
He said: “Many of our players have chronic or long term illness and some hadn’t exercised for years. Beat the Street Thurrock gave them an activity they could do together and with a purpose. I’m very proud of them.”
Dr Bird said: “I am so impressed with Thurrock’s achievement, walking almost three times around the world. It really is outstanding and people have shown tremendous commitment. “
Cllr Speight added: “We have a lot to be proud of in Thurrock and the strength of our community should make all of us proud.
“We are facing tough times ahead with more cuts and shrinking council services. In times like this, it is ever more important that communities come together and that neighbours support and help each other.
“And excellent example is the £1 million Big Lottery Fund grant in which local residents are taking the lead on how best to improve and regenerate their neighbourhood”
A similar free Big Lunch event is being held at Anchor Field, Tilbury, on Thursday, 21 August, between 11am and 3pm.