A Wickham K Bullivant F Proudley P Freeborough C Gibson B Suart

It was with great pride that the Willow Works Steering Group held an Open Day on 16th May 2006, at the Old Willow Works, to exhibit the completion of the first phase of the restoration of the building. Over 70 people were invited, including Environment Agency Regional Estates Manager Paul Freeborough, Notts. County Council Countryside Projects Manager/BBC Andy Wickham, Notts County Councillor Ken Bullivant, along with representatives from RSPB. Local Heritage Initiative, C. Rennison & Son Ltd., Difuria Contractors, Misterton Roofing, J. Wharton Joiner, J. Brash & Co., Gainsborough Standard, Retford Times, Beckingham cum Saundby Parish Council, Willow Works/History Steering Group members, and many others who have funded, repaired, advised, generally helped and shown interest in the project.
It was the first time many had seen the inside of the building and an opportunity for all to appreciate the amount of hard work that has taken place and the potential future use of this historic building for the benefit of the local community and businesses, along with a possible link to the RSPB Beckingham Marshes Project.
Photographic Display
Rodney Cousins
The History Group put on a display of photographs and information about the village, along with a step-by-step progress of the work carried out on the Old Willow Works building. There was also a display of willow craft tools and their uses by Rodney Cousins.
Refreshments were laid on and served in the form of a light buffet, courtesy of the Parish Council and Willow Works Steering Group.
Presentation by B Suart and C Gibson

There was a short presentation, by Group Chair Brian Suart, and Project Co-ordinator Colin Gibson, showing all those present the commitment given and effort taken in reaching the current stage. The work required, which was carried out by local contractors and tradesmen, included reroofing, replacing timbers, repairing and re-pointing brickwork, new guttering and down pipes, new doors and windows fitted, all in keeping with the style and age of the building. Owl nesting boxes and bat roosts have also been erected. Volunteers carried out many practical jobs, such as removing layers of manure collected over several years during its use as a cattle shed. Details of funding obtained from various organisations were disclosed, along with the timescale given within which the renovation successfully managed to keep. After the presentation, the audience were invited to ask questions.

The Willow Works Steering Group were optimistic that the Open Day had gone well, with much positive feedback and encouraging comments from those who attended. The Group are now enthusiastically seeking funding to enable them to carry out the next phase of the project, making the building available for use.

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