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Mill memories being collected to showcase popular Broads icon

PUBLISHED: 23:16 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:54 23 August 2019

Paul Field, volunteer and friend of Thurne Mill, painting the windpump in 2018. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSON

Paul Field, volunteer and friend of Thurne Mill, painting the windpump in 2018. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSON

DEBRA NICHOLSON

It is an iconic Broads feature which has attracted people for several decades.

Thurne Mill, one of only two working windpumps in Norfolk. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSONThurne Mill, one of only two working windpumps in Norfolk. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSON

And now Thurne Mill, one of only two working windpumps in Norfolk, will be the centre of a new community project.

Owner of the windpump, Debra Nicholson, wants to collect people's memories of it through audio recordings, pictures and artefacts of the building.

The Capturing Thurne Mill's Memories project will be funded by £2,034 from the Love The Broads charity and £900 from the Water, Mills and Marshes Project.

Mrs Nicholson, 63, from Marsh Road in Repps with Bastwick, who is supported by volunteers to maintain the mill, said: "We are chuffed with the grant.

Bob Morse, former owner of Thurne Mill, (front), with his brother Ray and sister-in-law Molly, standing in front of the windpump in the 1970s. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSONBob Morse, former owner of Thurne Mill, (front), with his brother Ray and sister-in-law Molly, standing in front of the windpump in the 1970s. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSON

"Thurne Mill will be 200 years old next year and it is still working. I wanted to make it a really big birthday bash for the 200th year.

"The history of the building itself is well-documented but people's memories are not.

"It is about letting the public know about it. It is also about being part of the community because the mill is iconic."

The documented memories will be available digitally but also in hard copies, which would be held at the Wind Energy Museum in Repps with Bastwick.

Debra Nicholson (bottom right) with her son Scott Nicholson, daughter Deena Ball, mother Bing (Elizabeth) Smith and grand-daughters Elise and Alyssa Ball. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSONDebra Nicholson (bottom right) with her son Scott Nicholson, daughter Deena Ball, mother Bing (Elizabeth) Smith and grand-daughters Elise and Alyssa Ball. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSON

Mrs Nicholson, who took on Thurne Mill in 2007 after its previous owner, Bob Morse, died, added: "I think the project is something that could continue."

The mill was built by England & Co of Ludham in 1820 and pumped water from the marshes into the higher River Thurne, so cattle could graze on the land.

It was run by the Internal Drainage Board and finished working in 1936.

The windpump, accessible by water, road and the Weavers' Way, was taken on in 1949 by Mr Morse, an engineer, who restored it.

Debra Nicholson on holiday as a child on the Norfolk Broads with her grandad, Harry Smith,  her mother and uncle, Roy Smith. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSONDebra Nicholson on holiday as a child on the Norfolk Broads with her grandad, Harry Smith, her mother and uncle, Roy Smith. Picture: DEBRA NICHOLSON

Mrs Nicholson grew to love the mill by visiting it as a child during family holidays on the Broads.

She became friends with Mr Morse after moving to Norfolk in 1997 and regularly photographing the building for an A-level.

"It is a very special place to me. It is magical," added Mrs Nicholson, who is chairman and treasurer of Friends of Thurne Mill.

For details of mill open days visit www.thurnewindmill.co.uk

To get involved in the memories project, which launches at the mill on September 1 from 2-4pm, email Mrs Nicholson on info@thurnewindmill.co.uk or call 07796 407864.

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