- About Ali
In summer 2015, Ali Pretty and Richard White created the River Crouch Celebrations, an eight day 100 mile walk which brought together eight towns and villages from both sides of the River Crouch. The aim was for local residents to gather, share and create stories through arts projects that celebrate the River – its role in the past, its present but unseen beauty and the potential it has to benefit the community in the future.
Ali and Richard led an eight day 100 mile walk from Bradwell to Hullbridge, via Burnham-On –Crouch, Paglesham, Canewdon, North and South Fambridge, Ashingdon and South Woodham Ferrars with several surprise river crossings on route.
On these walks, 8 large scale flags were carried along the route which represented the towns and villages of Rochford. Ali held a series of workshops in which residents put forward their ideas for the flags, which feature places and characteristics of the local area. The flags were then painted by local residents in a series of flag painting workshops at Kinetika’s Studios.
The festival was developed after Ali and Richard worked with Roxie Curry Rochford District Council’s Arts Development Officer to devise and lead five walks along the south side of the River Crouch after Ali was approached to develop ideas for a river festival in 2014. Members of the public and eight local artists joined the walks and over three days developed the ideas for this project called The Lost Walks of Rochford.
“I wanted to thank you for making the Lost Walks possible and so thought-provoking. The idea of a guided walk, so that you can suspend your usual organising side (worrying about following the map, getting lost, getting back etc) is very free-ing. We rarely get the chance to wander, physically or intellectually and there was something important for me about being given permission to do this amongst the jumble of responsibilities and pressures of life and work, at a slower pace, taking the time it takes. The walk itself was varied and interesting, so it was all stimulating, but in a very natural way, unfolding as we went.” Sarah Bedell Aspirational Arts Partnerships