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.
BBC Radio Derby presenter Aleena Naylor, accompanied by husband Paul and daughter Unity, officially opened Heage Windmill’s 2017 season.
As is usual at our windmill openings, our guest of honour made a grand entrance driving a vintage tractor kindly provided by John Allsop of Belper.
Amidst the celebration was poignancy at the sight of the Derbyshire flag flying at half-mast in memory of Andy Potter, the last Radio Derby presenter to open the windmill in 2014. Andy died only a few months ago.
Opening proceedings, Trustees Chairman Piers Bostock, welcomed volunteers, friends and visitors and spoke of Andy Potter as a great friend and supporter of the windmill. Aleena said she was ‘very moved’ to see the flag, then wished the windmill well for the season ahead and cut the ribbon – with a bit of help from Unity.
Angela Ward, Chair of the Friends of Heage Windmill, thanked all the volunteers for their support and then made an impassioned appeal for more volunteers to help keep the sails turning.
Following a presentation of flowers to Aleena – and a cuddly rabbit and Easter Egg for Unity presented by our own Easter bunny Wosemary Rabbit – Aleena’s family went on a tour inside the windmill, conducted by miller Danny Ashley. The photos below show what a great family day out can be had visiting the windmill.
The Bank Holiday celebrations continue on Monday when Wosemary Rabbit will lead an Easter Egg Hunt.
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