A WINDMILL is in full working order again after a restoration campaign spanning more than three decades.

The 18th century windmill at Wheatley is one of only a handful of working windmills left in the county.

A fundraising campaign to restore the building started back in 1976 after mill enthusiast Wilfred Foreman encouraged owner Leonard Cripps to restore it.

Originally the mill, which had not worked since 1914, was used to grind wheat and ochre.

Wheatley Windmill Restoration Society treasurer Caroline Dalton, who has been an active member of the society for more than 20 years, said: “In 1907 there were something like 70 windmills in Oxfordshire.

“Now we are down to about seven and one of them has been converted in to a house.”

She added: “We think the restoration has cost somewhere in the region of £200,000.

“In the early days we had a series of jumble sales, coffee mornings and cake sales. Then we had grants from South Oxfordshire District Council and various trusts. When members of the public come to see the mill we ask for donations and they are usually very generous. We also had several legacies.”

Mavis Ramsden, whose great grandfather George Cripps once owned the mill, has been involved in the restoration since 1976.

She said the project had been a great community effort by volunteers and it was amazing to see the mill working again.

She added: “We did wonder if it would ever get finished but it has. It will be wonderful to see it grind corn.”

There are no plans to produce corn commercially.