A ceremony today (Wednesday) sees a big celebration at Heckington windmill, as the mill officially starts working again after a five year break pending the arrival of eight new sails.
The occasion will be marked by Coun Nick Worth of Lincolnshire County Council, the owners of the unique eight-sail windmill – the only one in Europe.
Recognising the wider benefits of this investment, Coun Worth commented that: “These improvements will give the mill a new lease of life, drawing in more visitors from both near and far. I’m delighted we’ve been able to work together to make this happen.”
Wednesday’s special event celebrates not only the official starting of the new sails, but also the role of the partnership itself in delivering a £1.5m project to ensure the windmill complex becomes a heritage attraction of international standing. This all became possible thanks to Heritage Lottery funding for Heckington Windmill Trust which enabled them to purchase the site including the Mill House.
However, it is the support of Lincolnshire County Council that has brought the new sails which Trust Chairman Charles Pinchbeck describes as: “A real cornerstone of all our future plans and ideas”. Mr Pinchbeck himself has been actively involved with the mill since childhood and has only praise for the County Council’s “commitment, vision and patience” in working alongside the Trust.
But the partnership is wider yet and the close support of North Kesteven District Council, Heritage Lincolnshire, the Parish Council and swelling ranks of enthusiasts have made this day a possibility.
Starting the new sails is perhaps the most appropriate way possible to celebrate their combined achievements. “We believe it’s the first time the mill has had a complete new set of sails since it was built in 1830,” said volunteer Mill Manager, Jim Bailey who oversaw the fitting. When stood vertically the top sail stands 100ft above the village and surrounding country.
Some of the trust’s volunteers have caught the nation’s enthusiasm for the Great British Bake-off and have begun demonstrations using the mill’s own flour which are already proving popular. Coming soon is a unique beer being developed in collaboration with the site’s Eight Sail Brewery. Heckington is the only windmill producing stone ground malt - grinding exclusively for the brewery to bring this “Rolling Stone” beer to the market.
The Trust is looking forward to another grand threshing weekend on October 4 and 5 and a two year restoration project is still to come.
Coinciding with the threshing weekend will be the Wild ‘n’ Green Beer Festival from October 3-5 at the brewery featuring some ‘experimental’ and ‘one-off’ brews from 8 Sail Brewery plus Lincolnshire Cider
It will be opening 12-10.30pm on the Friday and Saturday and 12-5.30pm on the Sunday.