A HUGE fundraising bid has been launched in an attempt to secure enough cash to repair an iconic mill.

The Friends of Bocking Windmill are hoping to raise £12,000 after it was discovered during recent repainting work that one of the sails on the nearly 300 year-old structure needs to be completely replaced.

It was built in 1721 and is maintained by a group of volunteers but owned by Braintree Council. Together the organisations open the windmill to visitors for open days.

Now they are urging residents to make a donation to the cause so the mill can be repaired.

Volunteer Aidan Kelly said: “Looking forward we want to try and get the sails turning and continue to preserve one of Braintree’s pieces of history - in two years the mill will be 300 years old.

“Although it is technically looked after by Braintree Council it needs donations to keep up maintenance.”

The mill was in working order until 1929 at which point it was gifted to the now defunct Bocking Parish Council.

According to the mill’s website, it gradually fell into disrepair until around 1962 when it was restored partly by public funds and partly by the council.

A spokesman for Braintree Council said: “When we had local millwright Bill Griffiths over to re-decorate the mill this spring he also carried out a structural survey of the mill.

“He identified a split in one of the main timbers that support the sail.

“Although perfectly safe at present, he suggested the sail is taken down and repaired over the next three years or so.

“This is quite a costly process, therefore the Friends of Bocking Windmill have started a crowd funding bid to match fund any capital contribution the council can make to ensure future generations can enjoy the mill."

Visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/bockingwindmill to donate.