VOLUNTEERS working at an 18th century watermill have been praised for their efforts in helping to restore the Gothic-style building.

The work of hundreds of volunteers who have helped to restore Howsham Mill has been recognised by the Heritage Alliance and rewarded with the Heritage Alliance Heroes Award 2014.

As part of the annual heritage day, the mill was jointly awarded the accolade, along with the Save Preston Bus Station Campaign at an awards ceremony in London.

Loyd Grossman, chairman of the Heritage Alliance, presented the award to the mill and said the volunteers had shown true passion in helping to support the ongoing restoration project.

He said: “The hundreds of hours of volunteer work which has gone in to rescuing Howsham Mill and giving it a new life as an education centre generating hydro-electricity makes it an outstanding candidate for this year’s Heritage Heroes Award.”

The awards, set up to celebrate contributions of volunteers across the country, acknowledge the work which has gone in to transforming the derelict and overgrown building to a sustainable project generating electricity. It is now also used as an environmental education centre for school groups.

Martin Phillips, of Howsham Mill, said that the outcome of the project was down to the hard work of the volunteers and generosity from a variety of grants.

He said: “Over the last 10 years several hundred volunteers have helped in the restoration of Howsham Mill.

“Particular credit must go to the founders of the Renewable Heritage Trust, Dave Mann and Mo MacLeod and a small group of past and present trustees.

“Together with an excellent professional team and contractor and grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Country Houses Foundation, everyone can take pride in a beautifully-restored building with modern day uses of hydro-electricity generation and environmental education.”