Windmill's future secured as volunteers come forward in their droves

Dereham Windmill. Picture: Ian Burt

The future of Dereham Windmill has been secured after volunteers came forward - Credit: Archant

The future of a precious jewel in Dereham's crown has been secured after an immense public response. 

Dereham Windmill, off Greenfields Road, had come under threat of closure after a sudden exodus of volunteers

Dereham Windmill. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Windmill is run on a day-to-day basis by the Dereham Windmill Charity - Credit: Archant

While it is owned by Dereham Town Council, the historic structure is run on a day-to-day basis by the Dereham Windmill Charity. 

Fears were amplified when the chairman and secretary announced prior to last month's annual general meeting (AGM) their intention to step down, reducing the committee to just four members. 

But, after an impassioned plea, the charity has managed to attract several new volunteers and trustees, who will welcome visitors to the mill and help organise fundraisers - key to ensuring the mill's maintenance can be paid for. 

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

Dereham mayor Ann Bowyer cooking a meal for four for her charity auction of promisesPhoto: Bill Sm

Ann Bowyer, a trustee of the Dereham Windmill Charity - Credit: Archant

Ann Bowyer, a trustee and former mayor of Dereham, said she was delighted that so many people had answered the call. 

"It was amazing, to be honest," added Mrs Bowyer. "We had lots of support and the room was packed. 

"There were even more people who could not make it to the meeting. There seems to be a lot more interest in our windmill than I had imagined."

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Explaining the importance of finding new recruits, she said: "Without volunteers, without trustees, we cannot operate. 

"The people of Dereham and the wider public - because we do get visitors coming from a distance - would lose the windmill and it would deteriorate."

Dereham Windmill Charity is looking to host a number of events over the coming months, which will help to fund crucial maintenance and renovation work. 

A repainting of the whole structure - which takes place every five years - is due in 2023, while members are seeking advice on what can be done about some crumbling brickwork. 

In the meantime, Mrs Bowyer is simply grateful that one of Dereham's best-known landmarks is being protected. 

Dereham Windmill. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham Windmill is one of the town's most precious landmarks - Credit: Archant

"In my mind there are three main things in Dereham: Bishop Bonner's Cottage, the railway and the windmill," she added.

"I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who came forward to help us."