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Image: David Wilcock

Chris Patton

Volunteer designer

Tell us a bit about yourself - what do you do when you're not volunteering?

My background is a graphic designer with a keen interest in photography. I have a passion for street art and am often out and about seeking out new artworks, which I post on my Instagram feed (@8bdesign). Other interests include architecture, the visual arts, design, animals (I’m a cat dad), plants/gardens, walking, quotations, music, ethnology (I have a large collection of tribal masks collected while travelling).

What sort of volunteering work do you do with FoWG?

I am a trustee of FoWG. My main contribution is utilising my creative skills. I am responsible for designing the windmill communications, merchandise range and coming up with new product ideas. I also create content write and make daily postings on the Brixton Windmill Instagram feed (@brixtonwindmill). Please follow us and like our posts!

How did you get into volunteering with FoWG?

I guess volunteering is in my DNA; it is something I have always done with various projects for as long as I can remember. I have been volunteering with FoWG right from the beginning with the formation of the Friends in 2003 when the windmill was derelict and vandalised.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

I love being part of a group of people who are working hard to promote an amazing industrial heritage project to the local community, to a London wide audience and making sure Brixton Windmill is around for a long time for future generations to enjoy.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to volunteer?

Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills or use existing ones in new ways. You will gain experience, and you may find hidden talents that will improve your confidence. It will help fill in your work experience, and demonstrate a ‘can-do’ approach on your CV to enhance job prospects.

How do you feel you have benefited from volunteering with FoWG?

Meeting people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, making new friends, teamwork, it has given me a lot of satisfaction in the knowledge that I have made a positive contribution to the success of this project, and I’ve had lots of fun.

Finally, tell us a surprising fact about the windmill that people may not know.

The modular mill, which was restored back in 2011 and is being used again to mill flour, may possibly have saved Brixton Windmill from demolition while the other 11 windmills across Lambeth were all lost. This unusual piece of machinery was installed by Joshua John Ashby in 1902 at a time when many millers were installing these machines to make their windmills productive on windless days. Many people may not realise that when Brixton Windmill was built in 1816, Brixton was largely rural and had more in common with the other villages of Surrey than with London.