Volunteer tour guide
Tell us about yourself – what do you do when you’re not volunteering?
Being retired gives me some spare time, so firstly I try and see my two grandchildren regularly. I’m also an avid car boot sale fan and love both buying and selling – although the latter not as much as my wife Barbara would like! One of my favourite hobbies, which I’ve found some success in, is buying pictures and portraits which I will then repatriate to their families after a lot of research. I also volunteer for an organisation that promotes awareness of architecture in schools.
What sort of volunteering work do you do with FoWG?
As well as volunteering as a tour guide in and around the windmill itself, I am also part of FoWG’s Education Team, which hosts larger tours for schools and visiting groups. At one stage I also had a go at being a volunteer miller, but due to other commitments I have sadly had to take a break from it. Regardless, it makes me a better tour guide to have first-hand experience of how the milling process works.
How did you get into volunteering with FoWG?
When I retired I was determined to do something that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Also “spare time” can easily be hijacked by an endless list of domestic tasks, so I find that volunteering helps get you out of the house and keep you active.
What is your favourite thing about volunteering with FoWG?
For me, it’s all about the people. Being part of a team is important and of course it’s great meeting all of the different visitors who come to the windmill wanting to know its story.
What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to volunteer with FoWG?
Give it a try – you will get more out of volunteering than you put in!
Why should people come to visit Brixton Windmill and Windmill Gardens?
Brixton Windmill is more than just a building. Its story begins with the Ashby family – it also covers local history, past food production methods and aspects of simple engineering. And it’s all on the doorstep of vibrant Brixton.
Finally, tell us a surprising fact about the windmill that people may not know.
The French burr stones used in the modular (provender) mill are used to produce the finest flour and thus have always been very costly and in high demand. So, even during the Napoleonic Wars when the English were fighting the French, the trade in stones between the two countries was allowed to continue.