Life-saving defibrillator installed in old BT phone box at Plumstead, near Holt
PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 April 2015
A redundant village phone box is ringing the changes, by becoming the base for a lifesaving defibrillator.
The iconic red former BT kiosk, at Plumstead, near Holt, was bought by the parish council for a nominal £1.
After the box had been used as an exhibition venue for the Queen’s jubilee in 2012, and to house a display marking the golden wedding anniversary of local couple Mervyn and Eileen Gibbons, Plumstead resident Julie Brown came up with the idea of launching an appeal to turn it into a base for a defibrillator.
“We are a small village with a church and that’s about it,” Mrs Brown said.
“And when I went on a Heartstart training course in the next village I realised that we absolutely needed our own defibrillator.”
She contacted David Ramsbotham, who is chairman of the Plumstead 2000 fund, which was set up to raise cash for local projects.
The charity agreed to donate the £1,200 needed to kit out the phone box with a temperature-controlled secure cabinet, in which the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has installed a defibrillator as part of a £1m project to support 1,000 similar schemes across the region.
Mr Ramsbottom said: “More than half of the people in Plumstead are over 50 and we are quite a long way in travelling time from an ambulance or a First Responder, so I think it is important for us to be able to help each other should something happen.”
In the event of an emergency, the equipment, which has been shown to improve the survival rate of cardiac arrest sufferers by up to 74pc, can be accessed by dialling 999.
Also helping with the Plumstead project was trainee paramedic David Draper of Sheringham, who, five years ago, set up his own charity to run training courses and put lifesaving kit in rural areas.
Called Shocking Now!, the charity has since installed defibrillators in 10 villages, including West Runton, East Runton and Matlaske.
Mr Draper, who is a Community First Responder in his home town of Sheringham, will be running training sessions for Plumstead residents wanting to learn how to use the new equipment.