Rent is paid as mill sails into new season
TAKING his turn as council rent collector, Cllr Michael Claughton received payment for the lease of Willesborough Windmill – and promptly returned it, as tradition demands.
As owners of the historic mill that was built in 1869 and is a Grade II listed building, the council is unable to provide the funding required for the upkeep of the tourist attraction, so hands responsibility to volunteers from The Friends of the Mill.
At the start of each season they hand over a symbolic wooden peppercorn mill as ‘rent’ which is immediately returned.
Supporters gathered last Thursday to see the ceremony as trustee John White made the presentation to Cllr Claughton, standing in for mayor Cllr John Link who was a late arrival.
Tears were shed as tributes were paid to staunch supporter Tony Staplehurst who tragically died in an accident while on holiday in South Africa, as Marjorie Burge and Pat White presented, on behalf of The Friends, a painting by Graham Buckham of the mill to Mr Staplehurst’s widow Ann.
When Mayor Cllr John Link arrived he handed over a painting from 1990 of restoration work at the mill donated by Ian Kirkland.
Willesborough Windmill opens to the public for the summer season from Saturday.
Mill trustee John White, centre, hands over the peppercorn rent to mayor Cllr John Link and Cllr Michael Claughton