Miles Raymond poring over the manual for the 1920s Vickers sewing machine he bought at auction and on which he has been making facemasks for his extended family.

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Earlier this year he contacted Will Thomas, MD of fair organiser IACF, to ask for his input on a school engineering project.

“I was asked to create something that would help to improve life,” said Raymond. “My thought was to design an app that would help people to navigate antiques fairs by tracking their location.

“The idea came to me after my first visit to IACF’s fair at Ardingly two years ago when I was unsure where I was within the showground, where I had been and which areas I still had to visit. I also thought it would be great if visitors could mark the location of stalls they wanted to return to.”

Raymond was at IACF Ardingly last month, the second of the fairs after lockdown. He said: “I loved coming back to something so familiar after something so different,” a comment we can surely all identify with.

Thomas said: “I said to Miles that IACF would help him where we could on his design project. It’s great to see passionate young people in our industry. We all need to encourage the next generation of dealers and collectors wherever we can.”

Useful if you need a facemask…

Raymond’s growing collection inlcudes walking sticks, silver items, a couple of telescopes and magnifying glasses and a ceremonial sword. He also has a passion for vintage sewing machines, which has been particularly useful recently – he has been making facemasks for his extended family.

“I am fascinated by these machines and love their intricacy and prowess,” said Raymond. “I have one Singer and a Vickers Vibrating Shuttle Delux which I bought at auction last year. I was delighted to be able to get the Vickers working, thanks to a combination of the original instructions and the internet.”