It is one of the jewels in Dereham’s crown, and now the town's windmill is looking forward to a bright 2023.

The team at Dereham Windmill is optimistic about the next 12 months after narrowly avoiding the threat of closure due to a sudden exodus of volunteers in 2022. 

Fears mounted when the windmill's chairman and secretary announced their intention to step down just before an Annual General Meeting last February, reducing its managing committee to just four members.

The windmill is owned by Dereham Town Council and run by the Dereham Windmill Charity.

After an impassioned plea, the charity managed to attract several new volunteers and trustees, who will welcome visitors to the mill and help organise fundraisers to help pay for the site's maintenance. 

The new additions include a new chairman, secretary and events organiser, who stepped forward during 2022’s AGM at the windmill's community hall.

Dereham Times: Ann Bowyer, a trustee of the Dereham Windmill Charity

The windmill is currently closed, as is usual between its Santa’s grotto in December and an annual reopening in March.

The windmill will host this year’s AGM in February. Ann Bowyer, a trustee of the Dereham Windmill Charity, said they were in a far better place than 12 months ago, but were still on the search for more volunteers and a trustee.

She said: “Volunteers come and go all the time, and I know we will be losing a trustee, a person who has been very useful for us, so that will be someone we are sad to see go, so will need more volunteers and trustees as well.”

Dereham Times: Dereham Windmill

The group is looking forward to making improvements to the Grade II listed building, a repainting, which takes place every five years. Members are also seeking advice on what can be done about some crumbling brickwork.

The windmill's calender of popular events is also set to return. This includes a crafts fair - which featured 30 stalls in its last outing - ateddy-bear zip wire and family fun day, and Santa’s grotto.

There are also exhibitions planned for the windmill, with the first set to show off work completed by students from Northgate High School.