Yesterday morning (Thursday, 26th November) the sails at Heage windmill were safely removed as the first phase of work began to repair the wet rot that was found back in August.
Local contractor, Dave Nicholls, worked hard to release the eleven huge bolts on the first sail which fasten the sails to the iron cross.
The crane supported the sail whilst this was done and by 9:30 the first one was being guided to its initial resting place, laying flat on wooden pallets. The volunteer team then removed the wooden leader boards from the sails and made the control rod for the shutters secure.
The whole process was repeated six times. All the sails were then repositioned to stand vertically ready for the next stage – transport to a dry workshop. Here they will be carefully checked and any repairs carried out before being painted by mill volunteers.
By 1:00pm all the sales were off and stacked and the workers gathered round to celebrate the successful completion of this phase of the work.
Alan Gifford, Trustee for the Heage Windmill Society said: “The mill however looked strangely bare without her sails. But the sails WILL turn again.”
Total donations for the mill are fast approaching £20k. All of this has come from relatively small donations from many well-wishers. Currently they have enough funds to get the work started, but the appeal goes on as their reserves will have been exhausted by 2016.
They are still needing funds to complete the work so if you are interested in helping then visit http://www.heagewindmill.org.uk to see how donations can be made.