GAYLE Mill, in upper Wensleydale, finds out on Sunday if it will receive £250,000 of repairs when the final vote is cast in BBC Television's Restoration series.

The cotton mill won the northern heat of the series, which sees historical buildings across the UK battle it out for £3m of regeneration cash, last Sunday, when it received over 40pc of viewers' votes.

The North-East Civic Trust, which owns the mill, built in 1776 and closed in 1988, has already raised £900,000 towards restoring it.

It hopes for a further £250,000 to return the building and its water turbine to working order as a woodwork training centre and commercial sawmill. The sum would enable the mill pond to be repaired, ensuring renewable power can be generated to run the mill machinery. Any surplus will be sold back to the National Grid.

Harvey Dowdy, project manager for the trust, said: "We were thrilled to hear that Gayle Mill had won through to the finals and it is fantastic news for everybody who has been involved in getting the project to this stage."

Open days at the mill on Saturday and Sunday attracted more than 500 people, who donated £1,000 towards the work.

"Gayle Mill will not become just another museum but a focus for all sorts of activity relating to the woodlands of the Yorkshire dales, the use of local timber and renewable energy to name but a few," said Mr Dowdy.

Tony Routh, who started work at the mill as a 14-year-old apprentice and is now director of the Gayle Mill Trust, said: "When we heard the news that we had won, the Institute, where supporters had gathered, just erupted. People were so pleased. We are now looking forward to the trip to Hampton Court on Sunday and will be working hard to drum up support between now and then."

Friends of Gayle Mill are organising a coach to the event, where they will put the case for their project against seven other contenders.

A half-hour programme tonight opens the telephone vote to the public and presenter Griff Rhys Jones fronts the 75-minute final on Sunday, 9pm.

l A social evening of demonstrations and updates on the Gayle Mill is being held next Friday, August 13, at Hawes Auction Mart from 6-10pm.

The event is being hosted by Friends of the Mill and includes a demonstration of a mobile wood processing unit used at the mill. There will be a cash barbecue and bar. Admission costs £1 for adults, 50p for children and free for Friends members.

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