Published: 13:00, 09 August 2019
Plans are underway for an iconic red telephone box to have a new lifesaving purpose.
The box in Alfred Square in Deal is at risk of being decommissioned and removed by British Telecom (BT).
But after a Facebook plea by Vanessa Gray-Bull for something to be done to save it, three women who have form in achieving results got to work.
Beverley-Jayne Last, Kerry Banks, and Chrissi Dunn took heed from the social media discussion involving around 400 community members suggesting it is turned into a combined Public Access Defibrillator site (PAD) and community library.
The women have since written to Deal Town Council asking them to consider being the official 'adoptees', at a cost of £1.
Mrs Last, Heartstart trainer and community first responder, said: “Alfred Square is a fantastic location for a defibrillator but there are many hurdles for us to overcome with this project.
"The first being to get permission from BT to adopt and the second is to raise the funds required for not only the PAD but ancillary costs such as the anti-theft cabinet, electrical adaptations, signage and refurbishment of the kiosk, which is in need of repair.”
With the help of former community organisers Mrs Banks and Mrs Dunn a fundraising page was set up and about £110 has been raised.
A quiz night has also been organised at The Saracens, adjacent to the phone box, on Thursday, August 22.
Entry is £5 a head and includes nibbles. Teams can be up to six.
Mrs Dunn said: “I did my Heartstart training with Beverley-Jayne over a year ago because I realised the difference defibrillators make between life and death in an emergency situation.
"The more areas of Deal that have them means more lives saved. That can only be a good thing.”
Mrs Banks said: “I love it when a community pulls together and Deal is so good at doing just that."
The campaign has received support from MP Charlie Elphicke who has pledged his help with the negotiations with BT.
Mr Elphicke said: "Kerry, Beverley-Jayne and Chrissi always work tirelessly for our community and we need to support them.
"This historic phone booth would be great to house a defibrillator. The booth needs to be adopted for the community - I hope Deal Town Council will take the lead on this.
"I will be writing to BT to get them to help make this happen too.”
To book a place at the quiz night or donate a raffle prize call David Little at The Saracens Head on 01304 448858.
Read more: All the latest news from Deal