Pep­per­corn rent for whole sea­son at mill

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Mike Ben­nett

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.

Pic­ture: Dave Downey pd1174927

Mayor Norman Ayres re­ceives the pep­per­corn rent from Michael El­liott, chair­man of Willes­bor­ough Mill Trust

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