Cambridgeshire

Sam Smith reopens Great Chishill Mill after £110k restoration

Sam Smith opening the windmill Image copyright Neil Heywood
Image caption Sam Smith said it was an "honour" to be invited

Pop star Sam Smith made a surprise appearance in the village where he grew up to reopen a 200-year-old mill, restored at a cost of £110,000.

Great Chishill Mill in Cambridgeshire is Grade II* listed and one of seven left in the country - and the only one with a fantail.

Smith opened the mill on Saturday and said it was an "honour" to be invited.

It "made me so emotional to be back at home with my family and friends", he said on Instagram.

Image copyright Great Chishill Windmill Trust
Image caption It is a trestle mill, built around a main central post supported underneath by a cross brace of wooden beams

Smith said: "I am delighted to be back in Chishill, the village where I grew up from the age of four. I have many fond memories of my time as a kid here.

"I remember running through the fields out the back there dancing to Beyoncé."

Image copyright Great Chishill Windmill Trust
Image caption The fantail at the back allows the mill to turn automatically in the wind along its newly-restored path

The mill was built in 1819 and remained in use until 1951, grinding animal feed.

In 1964, Cambridgeshire County Council bought it and opened it to the public.

But by 2011, it had "fallen into a sad state of disrepair", said David McKeown, from the Great Chishill Windmill Trust.

The village raised £18,500, and Historic England provided a grant of £77,000; while the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings gave £29,000.

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