In recognition of bringing Tractor Days to Heage Windmill, John Allsop was invited to officially open the mill for our 2019 season.
In what was probably the warmest opening day since the windmill was restored in 2002, John made his entrance in fitting fashion by driving his Fordson Tractor down the track to the windmill, escorted by two other tractors, driven by local men David Hornsey and John Gould.
They were welcomed by a large gathering of people , including Alan Eccleston, Chairman of Heage Windmill Society, and Cllr. Angela Ward, Chair of Friends of the Windmill.
Alan welcomed everyone present and thanked in particular the team of volunteers who make the mill such a great attraction.
He introduced John Allsop, who was born and bred in Heage and has had a long standing love of the mill. It was John who, many years ago, suggested he organised a tractor rally at the mill. This has blossomed into memorable and well-supported Tractor Days which have greatly helped support the mill.
Angela spoke on behalf of Friends and mentioned the continuing need for more volunteers to help maintain the high standards set at the mill.
Alan then invited John to cut the yellow ribbon. In doing so doing, he said he sincerely hoped the mill would enjoy a great season and that that weather would be kind throughout.
This Sunday, Heage Windmill will again be visited by a large collection of vintage Tractors.
These machines displaced the horse as the motive power for farms and similar activities and now they are themselves being regarded as ‘collectables’. They will stand displayed adjacent to our 222-year-old wind machine!
Tractors will include 60-year-old Fordsons and Massey Fergusons. John Allsop, who organises the Tractor group, said: ‘We are always happy to come to the windmill’.
The tractors will be supported by some stalls, including a burger van and, if the weather permits, our now quite famous bric-a-brac stall, where one person’s junk becomes someone else’s treasure!
The tractors will arrive from about 10-30 am and will be with us until around 3-30. The mill will, of course, be open for guided tours.
All funds raised will go to the upkeep of the Mill.
Heage Windmill has won Best Volunteer Project in the Derbyshire Heritage Awards for its Trouble at Mill Appeal (TAMA).
The award honours the magnificent efforts made by volunteers at Heage to get the windmill quickly back in action after wet rot was discovered in the cap structure.
The event was attended by Angela Ward, Chair of the Friends of the windmill, Lynn Allen representing the fundraising team and Alan Clark, who was one of operations team, both teams being set up to deal with the emergency following the discovery of wet rot in August 2015.
As Angela reports: ‘It was quite nail biting as I think we were in the most contested category and I believe there may have been 6 or 7 worthy contenders. When Andy Potter (Radio Derby) announced the winners as Heage Windmill, I felt so privileged to represent the Friends & Volunteers of the Mill, such an excellent team of hardworking, committed and enthusiastic people who give their time freely to ensure that the ‘Old Lady’ keeps turning for everyone to enjoy. The award was just the icing on the cake after a demanding time getting her better!’
The award plaque will be on permanent display as soon as this can be organised.
Heage Windmill is usually open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from Easter to the end of October, but is currently closed because of Covid-19. See home page for details>
Please note the wind speed. If it is more than 5 or 6 mph, then normally the sails will be turning.
Heage Windmill is owned by Derbyshire CC but is controlled and operated by Heage Windmill Society, a charitable organisation (Reg Charity No 1065980), to whom all profits from running the windmill are donated by the Friends to help ensure its continued preservation