Residents enjoy Winter in the Park Event

On the 19th of December, the first Winter in the Park took place.  This event was jointly arranged and organised by Thurrock Festival (AAAHA), FOGTP, with assistance from CeCe Luna.  The theme of the day being winter solstice, it highlighted the change of the season with a slight Christmas vibe.  The fact that Covid had again tightened its grip and the weather was damp and cold, did not deter us, our stall holders nor the visitors that arrived throughout the day.

Local artists and volunteers prepared a wintery sculpture around the café, which was constructed of fallen tree branches painted white.  The branches were tied together to form a dramatic arch, over the front of the café.  On the day of the fayre, children and adults took part in making paper baubles and stick reindeer, which we hanged from the branches.  Visitors remarked that the display reminded them of a scene from Narnia, the magical Kingdom from the children’s book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Quest Music Services provided a variety of music, through out the day with fantastic live performances from Harry and the Chicks, Leanne Louise, the Gates of Praise gospel duo and DJ Wheels.

A huge thank you to all the stall holders that arrived, braving the weather.  We also wish that those that were not able to attend on the day due to Covid, have made a speedy recovery.

Among the stalls that attended on Sunday were,

The Princes Trust & Inspire, Tom and Mark – providing information to visitors on how they assist young adults ranging from 16–24-year-olds, a very worthwhile service.

Jo Webster – A Body Shop independent beauty consultant, selling ethical, cruelty free beauty products.

Nanny Violets Jams, a local business run by the Grandchildren of Nanny Violet, selling delicious, mouth-watering jams and chutneys from their Nan’s very own recipes.

Mr B Brownies, a relatively new business, set up during lock down and going from strength to strength, selling the best homemade brownies. The just about sold out!

We can personally vouch on the delightfulness, of Nanny Violets and Mr B’s tasty products and if you have missed out on their treats, then please look at their social media pages to find out where you can purchase their goods.

Angie Brown, who was selling some fantastic Christmas stocking fillers, toys and costume jewellery.

We love to promote our small local independent businesses and hope they will all be returning to the park for future events in 2022.

Not forgetting and a special thank you to Cid, who entertained everyone on his stilts. The children screamed in delight at being scared by him! There was some discussion as what creature he was.  Was he a monkey?  Yeti, Goat or Reindeer?  What everyone agreed was that he was amazing and did a great job.

Thank you to our wonderful café volunteers, who were busy throughout the day, selling home baked cakes and other goodies, our ever-popular hot chocolate and locally roasted coffee.

Thurrock’s Mayor, Sue Shinnick arrived late afternoon to open the art exhibition in the café, by local artist Laurynas Karmalavicius.  Please be sure to visit the exhibition when the café reopens on the 9th January.  Laurynas has created artwork that is visually enhanced by using Augmented Reality (AR) technology.  By downloading an app onto your smart phone and then using the camera to look at the artwork, the picture is given another dimension.  We will be displaying the artwork for the next few weeks, so be sure to pop in and have a look.

The day was brought to a close, by the draw of our raffle; we had a fantastic array of prizes and the winning tickets were selected by the Mayor.

A huge thank you to the generous prize donations from

Lulu Cakes – Handmade cake

Morrisons, Grays – Hamper

Nanny Violets – Jam gift box

Timpsons, Grays – £5 voucher x 2

The Tanning Salon – 5 sessions spray tan or UV sessions

German Doner Kebab, Lakeside – 4 evouchers

Tapas Revolution – £40 voucher

The Refill Cabin – £5 voucher x 2

Shake Shack, Lakeside – Burger Meal vouchers x 4

Thank you to everyone that took part, helped behind the scenes, donated time and gifts and to everyone that visited on the day. Without you it would not have been the success it was. 

We are very much looking forward to our events in 2022.  Please make sure you check our website regularly for updates.