Belper historian Adrian Farmer was given the honour of launching the new season at Heage Windmill on Saturday.
And he used the occasion to praise volunteers for their “astounding” efforts in helping raise in excess of £40,000 towards the restoration of the attraction’s cap structure and sails.
The money has been amassed less than eight months after rot was discovered on the main structure of the Grade II* listed building.
“You should be very proud,” declared Adrian, co-ordinator of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage sites, who arrived at the mill on a vintage ‘Fordson’ tractor which was provided by John Alsop, of Belper.
Chair of the mill trustees Piers Bostock welcomed the gathering of volunteers, friends, visitors and guests, which included the High Sheriff of Derbyshire Oliver Stephenson and his wife Fiona. He was followed by the chair of The Friends of the Windmill, Angela Ward.
After opening the windmill, Adrian and his wife Mary were presented with a number of gifts - including an IOU for a bag of flour when the mill expects to return to full working order in the coming weeks.
The windmill is open every weekend between 11am and 4pm until the end of October. Visit www.heagewindmill.org.uk.