Couple who brought 19th century derelict windmill back into use to step down as trustees

Dereham windmill reopens for the summer.
Brian and Alison Webb with Biscuit the carnival mascot.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Dereham windmill reopens for the summer. Brian and Alison Webb with Biscuit the carnival mascot. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018


It was a seven-year journey which started with a view from a conservatory, but now the couple instrumental in restoring a forgotten Norfolk landmark are hanging up their clogs.

Dereham Windmill chairman Brian Webb and head of fundraising Alison Webb announced at Tuesday’s (January 8) annual general meeting of Dereham Town Council that they will be retiring from their roles next month.

Mr Webb said he was proud of what had been achieved and praised the commitment of the team who work “tirelessly on a voluntary, unpaid basis”.

“My wife and I have now accomplished our vision for the windmill,” he said. “[It] is in a good position to continue being a much-loved community asset to Dereham.

“I hope the enthusiasm we have built to date will continue in the future but this can only be achieved with support from the community.”

The 19th century building was derelict and virtually forgotten in 2011 before the couple formed an idea to restore the landmark after admiring it from their home one day. They became trustees in 2012.

Then, after forming a small team, they worked together to raise funds to open the windmill as a community exhibition centre in 2013. Work then began on raising more funds to build a community coffee shop, which opened its doors for the first time in 2015. And last year it was repainted and a new informative hologram exhibition installed.

To date, more than £400,00 has been raised through grants and fundraising efforts.

Tony Needham, Dereham Town Council clerk, thanked the couple for their dedication of behalf of the council, which owns the grade II listed building.

“In the last eight years the windmill has transitioned from a rundown building without a purpose to a thriving community facility,” he said. “Alison and Brian’s departure is the end of one chapter in the windmill’s history but the next chapter is likely to be just as exciting.”

The town council will continue to support the trustees and volunteers, of which more are needed to ensure the future success of Dereham Windmill.

- Would you like to become a trustee or volunteer at Dereham Windmill? Ring 01362 691164 or email by January 26.

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