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Makeover for mill as it gets ready for its 200th birthday

PUBLISHED: 16:33 14 June 2018

Thurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Thurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A distinctive feature of the Norfolk skyline is having a face-lift as it approaches its 200th birthday.

Thurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson. Picture: ANTONY KELLYThurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Thurne Mill was built in 1820 and visitors flock from afar to photograph and look around the striking white building on the Broads.

However, the landmark has recently been blighted by a red algae infestation and much of the old structure has grown increasingly threadbare.

But the mill’s fortunes took a turn for the better last year when Glenn Hoddy, founder of business networking events company I Roll Up My Sleeves, decided he would organise an event that would bring businesses together to repaint the mill.

A year on and the tower has been transformed thanks to the event, which saw bright white coats of paint applied across two days in May.

Thurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Now volunteers are giving up their weekends to help restore timber and metalwork.

Owner of the mill, Debra Nicholson, said: “I am so proud to have such an amazing part of Norfolk’s heritage and without the hard work of friends and volunteers this work just would not have happened. I am absolutely over the moon.”

Indeed, Mrs Nicholson has been an admirer of the mill for a long time.

She first came to know of it on childhood holidays to the Broads, and after moving to Norfolk she became good friends with Bob Morse, who saved the mill when it was on the brink of destruction in 1949.

Thurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThurne Mill refurbishment. Owner Debra Nicholson. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The mill was then leased to the Norfolk Windmills Trust for very low rent from 1964 to 2014.

But following Mr Morse’s death in 2007 he left the historical building to Mrs Nicholson, who took on the maintenance programme from 2014.

Ever since, Mrs Nicholson has made it her mission to continue the legacy of Mr Morse and the mill, continuously organising fundraisers in order to keep the building open to the public.

Preparations are also under way ahead of the 200th birthday, with a photographic competition planned for September this year.

Thurne Mill refurbishment.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThurne Mill refurbishment. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

There will also be events planned throughout the birthday year itself, including an exhibition, a regatta of old boats and a Thurne Mill bake off.

To help with the restoration, or to become a Friend of Thurne Mill, call 07796 407864.

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