Words and photos by Dave Barry
Eighty years after it arrived, a village phonebox has found a new lease of life.
It has been lovingly restored and turned into a book-exchange and information point.
On Monday evening, over 40 residents in Hutton Buscel attended a reopening ceremony.
Louise Thompson, who chairs the parish council, cut a ribbon and Martin Price read a poem written for the occasion by parish councillor Dee Edmenson.
Beryl Lowson, 90, moved to the village 41 years ago and used the box many times before she had a phone put in at her home.
The advent of mobile phones led to the box being decommissioned in 2008.
Shirley Doyle said: “The box is a K6 which is one of the most famous types of all the GPO boxes.
“It was installed in 1937, making it 80 years old this year”, Shirley said.
“Seven or eight years ago it was offered to Hutton Buscel Parish Council by the GPO for £1. It was duly bought for the village”.
In the parish plan of 2015/16, villagers were consulted on what they wanted to happen to the box. “The top answer was for it to become an information point and book-swap”, Shirley said.
A grant of £5,000 was obtained from the Big Lottery Fund and the box has been returned to its former glory by a professional restorer.
“The restoration is museum standard”, said David Jeffels, the county councillor for the area.
Dee Edmenson’s poem:
I've stood on this spot for 80 years,
I've been the village eyes and ears,
Standing here in my coat of red,
I've been well used, it has to be said.
Standing here for 80 years,
What tales I could tell to listening ears.
Look after me and treat me well,
Then your secrets I'll never tell.
Once more I shine for all to see,
Restored to glory - for posterity.