Billingford Windmill in its former glory

Windmill looks to future

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
5.46 PM

An old Norfolk windmill could be returned to its former glory after a working group was set up to raise funds and prepare it for public opening.

Scores of interested people turned out to a meeting about Billingford Windmill, near Diss, on Monday night at which plans were made for the building’s future.

A fundraising committee will now be tasked with raising money to have the sails replaced, which is expected to cost in the region of £60,000, while another group of volunteers will meet at the windmill on Saturday to prepare it to be opened to the public on Windmills Weekend, on May 11 and 12.

Volunteers Herbert and Julie Websdell, who were appointed by The Norfolk Windmill Trust to oversee the building in 2007, said the meeting, at the Horseshoes pub, had been full, with plenty of people who showed they were willing to help out.

“There will be the practical people who will help de-cobweb and tidy up and get the building ready and then there will another group who will fundraise,” Mr Websdell said.

“There were enough people to really get a working group together to look at how to get things moving. They asked for volunteers and there were some from all around the room - it was overflowing.”

Mr and Mrs Websdell opened the windmill to the public until rot was found in the sails three or four years ago which were then removed. Since then it has only been opened on request.

“It’s very difficult to get people in without the sails up and going but we’re going to try to open it every month and see what happens,” Mr Websdell said. “It was difficult to explain that people won’t just go there without something happening but we’ll see what we can do and open - it’s all systems go really. Hopefully we can get things moving now and only look ahead.

“It was very sad to see the mill as it was when nothing was being done- it was depressing.”

The windmill will now be open to volunteers who would like to help clean it up on February 9 at 11am. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Mr and Mrs Websdell on 01379 853967.