VOLUNTEERS who work hard to keep the Crofton beam engines working were delighted when an American visitor was so impressed by the project he presented them with a £7,500 donation.

Bill Tandler, founder and CEO of Multi Metrics Inc in California, said “May Crofton continue to be a jewel in the crown of steam in England and the world, and may I be fortunate enough to come to see it again.”

Crofton branch chairman Peter Turvey said: "This donation highlights the significance of Crofton as part of the industrial heritage of the UK, and demonstrates the international attraction we enjoy.

"Crofton is presently working towards a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and has submitted a proposal for a wide range of work to both preserve the industrial heritage of our Grade One listed site and expand the visitor experience.

"As part of this proposal we have to raise a significant amount of match funding to release the grants from the Heritage Lottery fund. We have made great progress towards this goal but still have to find £55,000 before September. Bill’s generous donation is a significant help towards this goal.”

Multi Metrics, which Mr Tandler began in 1975, is a world leader in geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) technology and corporate implementation. Through its SmartGD&T™ technology powered software, training and consulting products and services, Multi Metrics enables companies to use GD&T to design more functional products, bring them to the market faster and reduce manufacturing and inspection costs.

Crofton Beam Engine is situated on the north side of the Kennet and Avon Canal near to its highest point. It was built to pump water to the highest level of the canal, 13m (40 ft) higher and 1.13km (0.7miles) to the west. It is home to two magnificent steam driven beam engines, one of which can claim to be the oldest in the world still in its original location and doing the job it was installed for in 1812.

It is a branch of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust who operate the site thanks to an enthusiastic band of volunteers.