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Review Article of the Month - November 2011
Overview Articles of the Life of Rochford
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The Life and Lives of Rochford : Awareness of a Community

Each weekday, all over Rochford (and Ashingdon), as happens all over the country, early in the morning a light appears here and then there and then there as people wake and start the process that is culminated by their exit from the house some time later. Some of the early risers make their way to the station on their daily trek to London, while others ease their car onto the main road as they head for London, Basildon, Southend and a variety of other work destinations. School children later emerge, numbers to walk to King Edmunds, catch a bus to Greensward, or a bus or train to other secondary schools or colleges further away. A while after them smaller children, mostly accompanied by a parent, wend their way to one of the half a dozen or so Junior or Primary Schools. All the while, individuals are leaving for work, some in Rochford, some in Ashingdon,some in Southend. Lights come on in shops and businesses around the area, voices are heard uttering greetings. Some come in to Rochford and work, either by train or by car parked in back roads. Back in homes others arise later and wonder what the day holds. They will be the retired, the housewife or the unemployed. These are the lives of Rochford. How fascinating it would be to have a silent and invisible helicopter hovering high over the area with a camera observing all these lives making their way to the next phase of today’s life.

Travel around the area in the day and observe the life. Mostly it is in small numbers as people come and go from shops and businesses around town. On Tuesdays the numbers out and about swell in Rochford Square with the advent of the market. Saturday mornings sometimes see larger numbers out and about. Sunday mornings see a quietness over the area which gives way to cars homing in on fields and churches and young footballers and the faithful gather for their different activities. During Saturday and Sunday mornings the main roads get busier with traffic mainly pouring out of the area to shop in Southend or further afield. Middle to later weekend afternoon and the traffic flows back home.
Weekday early afternoons see young uniformed people wending their way down Ashingdon Road in numbers, school buses take others further afield. Mid-afternoon and parents congregate outside the Junior and Primary Schools and a small surge of parents and children flow outwards from the school, to be absorbed back into their homes like the wave of the sea sinks through the sand or shingle. Over the next hour of so young people drop off buses from schools and colleges further afield. The morning’s tide is in reverse. Commuters pour off trains, Rochford workers go and collect their cars from surrounding streets and gradually the business and commercial life of the town closes down. Cafes and Restaurants? Ah, they are another story and we’ll cover them separately another time. Thus our imaginary, hidden watcher has seen the tide go and return over this twelve hour period; we have watched the lives of Rochford, individuals who make up the community, being scattered in all directions to follow the routine of their day. For some it has been a daily routine which varies little as they go to work or school. For others the routine varies from day to day with the freedom that comes from not being at school or work.

But then there is the life of Rochford (and Ashingdon) that is more the corporate expression of the town. Schools might be considered a ‘corporate activity’ with large numbers interacting in one place, larger businesses and the Councils also, but mostly the gathering together to do specific things together are the things we have in mind. You might think of Sheltered Homes here, where large numbers live under one roof and often share communal life. Churches gathering on a Sunday morning must surely fit here with what seems to be somewhere between four and five hundred gathering in the churches of Rochford and Ashingdon every week.

But the ‘life’ of Rochford also expresses itself in a multitude of groups and organisations. A number of these we have covered on Rochford Life, and a number we have still yet to reach, There are groups that gather purely for company, others that gather to perform a common activity, like the three art groups that operate in town. There are ladies’ groups, the two W.I. groups that meet, those who gather to garden or celebrate gardening such as the Allotment Association or the Rochford Fuchsia and Garden Society. There are those who gather to consider history - the Rochford Hundred Historical Society and the Rochford Archive. There are those who gather to practice archery, play football or rugby, there are Scouts, Guides, Boys and Girls Brigades and many more.

All of these groups are an expression of humanities desire to ‘do things together’. This is the wider ‘life’ of Rochford, and as we’ve penned these words we are conscious of how inadequate a coverage this has been and surely many of you will say, “But what about.....?” and yes there are many more than we’ve briefly touched upon here. Hopefully, we’ll be be able to bring them to the fore in Rochford Life in the months to come. If there are groups or organisations that you are involved with that have not yet been covered in Rochford Life, please do e-mail us your information and we’ll gladly give you a page or three here.

Our goal as Rochford Life is to “bring people into focus’ and ‘reveal the community to the community. This month’s ‘Review’ has more been a reflection of the community that we are part of. Thinking about it and observing it will, we hope, make us appreciate it even more. It’s a good community!

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