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Defibrillator installed in phone box in West Malling courtesy of Malling Lions

By Anna Young

A lifeline has been connected in the heart of a community.

An iconic red phone box in West Malling’s High Street was due to be scrapped but a charity group saw its potential as the ideal place to fit a lifesaving device.

Now members of the Malling Lions have unveiled the defibrillator they funded and installed inside the former telephone kiosk.

Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling Cllr Sasha Luck, and president of the Malling Lions Mike Howes, at the opening of a defibrillator

Richard Broomfield, from the organisation, said: “We’re really pleased we’ve been able to provide this piece of equipment which could potentially save someone’s life.

"We hope people respect the defibrillator as any of us might need it one day.

“This Lions project will not only provide West Malling with a lifesaving function but will help continue the legacy of the listed red K kiosk – a series which has been operational since the 1930s.”

If someone calls 999 in an emergency, they will be given a code to open the lockable steel box where the system is kept.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the phone box in West Malling

Once the electrode pads are attached to the casualty, the defibrillator will identify if a shock is needed and will instruct the rescuer using step-by-step instructions.

No training is needed but traders have been shown how to operate the machine, provided by Community Heartbeat Trust, in case their help is needed.

Calls to the ambulance will need to be made from a mobile or landline as there is no longer a working phone in the red box - which has been given a fresh lick of paint using materials donated by the manufacturers, James Briggs of the British Coatings Federation.

Mr Broomfield said the theft of a defibrillator from the town’s cricket club, in Norman Road, last year, made them more determined to raise around £2,000 to pay for another.

BT will continue to fund the electricity at the High Street booth, outside Baldocks Ski Store, and the unit will be checked weekly.

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