Peppercorn rent for whole season at mill
MAYOR of Ashford Norman Ayres took his turn as a council rent collector during a tradtional ceremony at Willesborough Windmill.
The mayor accepted a token payment for the premier heritage site, which he promptly returned, praising the efforts of all involved in the project to restore it.
Council chief executive David Hill, community director Ian Kirkland, council leader Paul Clokie and borough and county councillors George Koowaree, Derek Smyth and Malcolm Eke were among the VIP guests.
As owner of the mill, the council is unable to fund repairs and five years ago handed responsibility to the Friends of Willesborough Mill.
At the start of each summer season, trust chairman Michael Elliott hands over a symbolic wooden peppercorn as rent, which is immediately returned.
The mayor said: “This is a wonderful traditional ceremony and I have great admiration for all that work to restore this landmark site.”
In the past five years, volunteers have raised huge sums for restoration.
Many have been working through the winter preparing for the public opening Victorian Weekend on Saturday, 11am to 5pm, and Sunday, 2pm to 5pm.
They will then be open through the summer.
Mayor Norman Ayres receives the peppercorn rent from Michael Elliott, chairman of Willesborough Mill Trust