THIS year’s Thurrock 100 Stories project ended yesterday with a colourful mass performance by over 100 Thurrock schoolchildren from across the borough
The finale was the culmination of a project organised by Purfleet-based arts organisation Kinetika. Thurrock 100 Stories aimed to tell 100 stories about Thurrock’s rich heritage, illustrating them on 100 beautiful silk flags created by residents and school students, and exploring them on 21 walks around the borough. The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England, with the support of Thurrock Council and Coalhouse Fort, and other partners.
Local history and community groups, residents, 19 schools, and no fewer than 500 students, took part in workshops to collect and write the stories, with a further 216 people coming to paint the flags at Kinetika’s studios. Overall, more than 3,000 people took part in the project this year.
All the stories and images of the flags can be explored online through a new interactive story app available at www.thurrock100.com, and a book containing all 100 stories and the flags will be published in the autumn.
Thurrock’s Mayor, Cllr. Cathy Kent, said: “Thurrock 100 Stories has done a great job in getting us all to focus on the many great things about Thurrock. The project has got people thinking about and celebrating our fascinating heritage using creative writing and silk painting, and exploring our landscape on foot. I’m delighted that so many people have engaged with the project this year, and I’m really looking forward to reading all the stories online and in the book that will be published later in the year.”
Kinetika’s artistic director, Ali Pretty, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the way the project has developed this year and I’m thrilled that more than 3,000 people have participated in some way. At yesterday’s finale I had the strong impression that we’d been able to bring the whole community together in a wonderful, celebratory way, which was really my primary aim. I want to say a big thank you to all our funders, supporters and everyone who took part, without whom the project would not have been possible. I’m looking forward to next year!”
Cllr Deb Stewart, portfolio holder for Communities, added: “If someone had said to me, “Right, you’ve got to get strangers talking to each-other by coming together and making things, and getting healthy at the same time, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Yet Thurrock 100 has done that beautifully. I went on one of the walks, and I’ll never forget about the inventor of the Vincent motorcycle, the man making counterfeit half crowns, and why the local pub hangs hot cross buns outside at Easter. And the finale performed by Thurrock school children in front of their proud families was really wonderful. I hope Thurrock 100 goes from strength to strength!”