REPAIR work on a historic mill which has been out of action for more than a year is set to get underway.

The Friends of Alderford Mill say enough funds and volunteers have been secured to begin fixing up the mill in Alderford Street, Sible Hedingham, which dates back to the 1100s.

A number of wooden panels on the main wheel inside the building snapped off 16 months ago.

A desperate appeal for funds was launched, with an estimated £5,500 required to get the wheel back spinning again.

Friends of Alderford Mill are still looking to secure some of that figure through donations or sponsorship but say repair work has already started.

Volunteer Owen Hawkes said: "At the moment we cannot judge when we will finish.

"Most of the work is being planned on a first off basis as none of us or the millwright have attempted such a rebuild before.

"Initially without the sponsors we would have been struggling financially to cover the costs of repairing the wheel.

"And without the volunteers there is no way that the few of us who are Friends of Alderford Mill could even contemplate the job."

Mr Hawkes says repairs will be carried out each Wednesday afternoon and many volunteers are well skilled in the timber trade.

The old broken timber has now been removed from the wheel while the inner cast iron has been cleaned.

Some of the new timber has been precut for free by NJL Joinery, a family run firm based in Sible Hedingham.

However, the rest of the new wood has been delivered directly to the mill and will need to be cut and sealed with Danish oil by volunteers.

Mr Hawkes says he is desperate to restore the wheel to working condition as soon as possible so it can become a valuable asset for the village once again.

He added: "The mill is a feature of the village and plays a significant part in the history of the village. It brings many visitors to the village, both from overseas passing through from Harwich, some from around the UK specifically to see the mill and regulars, adults and children from the village on open days.

"The thought of achieving what we have in a comparatively short time is gratifying.

"When the original problem occurred some 16 months back we were contemplating well over two years from the start of the work before we could mill again."

Anyone interested in volunteering or sponsoring the project can contact Mr Hawkes on 07939 372987.