In Appreciation of Roy Pratt by Jim Conlay
I first met Roy Pratt at the Long Sutton and District Civic Society. It was soon evident that both Roy and Richard Thompson (the Chairman of the Society) were passionate about saving Sneath’s Mill and had been trying to do so for many years.
Back in October 1985 Roy had been part of a group of the Civic Society members who, knowing how dangerous the condition of the top of the mill had become, decided some action needed to be taken. The original boat shaped cap had blown away exposing the wooden machinery, and the wind shaft, brake wheel and wallower were all in danger of being lost forever. On Sunday 20th October 1985 ladders were put in place to tie down beams on top of mill tower ready for Dennis’s crane from Long Sutton to remove the exposed mill machinery – this being done on Wednesday 23rd October 1985.
The wind shaft, top section of main shaft, brake wheel, wallower and beams supporting the rotating mill cap were all brought down to ground level. The main cap beams were put under cover and the brake wheel and wallower were taken back to Roy Pratt’s farm for safekeeping. Photos were taken at various stages including a group picture of those involved in rescuing the mill parts. A temporary cap was later fitted. Roy made detailed sketches on the back of large envelopes of all the mill parts showing their dimensions and positions in the mill. Roy was always keen to learn of the latest developments regarding the mill, he looked after the mill parts, sketches and photos until he died in August 2009 aged 88, when his family gave them to the Sneath’s Mill Trust. In 2009, the Sneath’s Mill Trust, with the help of Roy’s family, returned the mill parts that Roy had cared for back to the mill site. Roy’s passion for Sneath’s Mill will always be remembered.