The 125th anniversary begins with the iconic Poppies sculpture, Wave, at Barge Pier in Shoeburyness from 12 April until 25 June. Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. This breath-taking sculpture is being exhibited across the UK, along with Weeping Window, by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
This will be followed by a wide range of community events throughout the summer and culminate on the pier on 24 September with ‘Silk River”: a creative regional event linking the Thames Estuary with the Hooghly River in Kolkata.
As part of the celebrations, individuals and local arts, heritage or sports groups are being invited to bid for grants to put on local events to mark the anniversary. Events confirmed to date include an “Active Life” Pier Festival on Friday 28 April and a Southend-on-Sea Film Festival between 14 May and 3 June 2017.
Priory Park is also celebrating an anniversary this year with 2017 marking 100 years since it was gifted to the town. As part of the celebrations the Priory Park gates will be receiving a facelift and there will be a Flower Festival in the park between 21 August and 1 September.
To be eligible for a grant, organisations are being asked to seek matched funding. Training and support is being provided by the Council to help them build capacity for fundraising and to find sources of matched funding. If you are interested in applying for a grant go to southend.gov.uk/125years for an online application form.
A special ‘125th logo’ has been developed to raise awareness across the Borough of the anniversary and to highlight events being organized as part of the celebrations. Local organisations and businesses are invited to use this logo over the summer period.
Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said: “I am delighted about the range of events we have planned to celebrate the 125th year of the incorporation of the Borough.
Around 1.5 million tourists visit Southend-on-Sea each year to attend the range of cultural activities we put on. Research tells us that for every £1 we invest in cultural activities roughly £6 is returned to our economy. We believe that the 125th anniversary is a great opportunity to showcase what makes Southend-on-Sea a great place to live and visit and to attract increased visitors into the area. I urge everyone to get involved, invite friends to visit and enjoy the celebrations.”
To follow activities being organised as part of the 125th year visit: www.southend.gov.uk/125years or on twitter #southend125.