September 26th, 2016

Avoncroft volunteer handed prestigious national award

Avoncroft volunteer handed prestigious national award Avoncroft volunteer handed prestigious national award
Mike honoured to be given the prestigious award. (s)
Updated: 7:31 am, Jun 26, 2015

A DEDICATED Avoncroft volunteer who spent decades preserving Britain’s great industrial heritage has been named a Point of Light by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Senior volunteer Mike Field has been honoured with the prestigious accolade for his work helping to restore and rebuild an 1830s windmill at the Stoke Heath museum.

The 79-year-old helped move the windmill to Avoncroft in 1969, allowing thousands of people, including youngsters, to understand more about Britain’s industrial past.

Thanks to Mike, the mill has now been in the museum for more than 40 years and is one of the last few operational windmills in the West Midlands.

Mike, the retired MD of a manufacturing company, is now a lead volunteer for the windmill and continues to train others how to sail, mill flour and maintain the centuries-old equipment.

His team of volunteers includes people from a range of backgrounds and ages providing them with an opportunity to develop new skills and work on a priceless piece of heritage.

Tens of thousands of schoolchildren have visited and scores have volunteered at the mill and learnt about Britain’s heritage.

His passion for preservation started in the early 1960s when, as a mechanical engineer, he became interested in restoring ancient buildings and historic mechanical equipment.

When he was asked to help restore the old windmill, Mike led a small team who all played their part in making sure the precious piece of archaeology was preserved.

Along with his wife and two other couples he took the building, which was mostly made of timber, apart and painstakingly restored and rebuilt it.

Mr Cameron said Mike had spent decades volunteering to restore and maintain the windmill at Avoncroft Museum even transporting it there in the first place.

“As a result of his efforts, generations of children have been able to visit the windmill and learn about an important part of Britain’s great industrial heritage.

“I am delighted to be able to recognise Mike’s service by making him a Point of Light.”

Mike said the award came as a complete but pleasant surprise which he greatly appreciated.

“We never tire showing hundreds of visitors but particularly schoolchildren over our fully restored working mill at Avoncroft each week,” he added.

Avoncroft director Simon Carter said: “I am delighted Mike has been recognised after decades of his involvement at the museum.

“We are grateful to all our volunteers who do so much and it great to see one of them recognised with a prestigious national award.”