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Villagers ring the changes with phone box library

Bodsham phone box library
Bodsham phone box library

Picture by Martin Apps with from left, Eleanor Thrupp, Nutty Thrupp and Sandra Smith

by Thom Morris


Villagers don’t have much call for chucking away their old magazines, books, CDs and DVDs.

Instead they’ve got this off-the-hook phone box, which has become a mini immobile library, stuffed to the brim with freebies.

Inside the old phone box in Bodsham near Wye are - among many others - copies of Farmer’s Weekly, plants for sale, jars of green tomato and apple chutney for £1.20, a book on casserole cooking, a Jeffrey Archer novel and the latest thriller from John Grisham.

Chutney, sold by villager Nutty Thrupp, is helping to raise money for the Vanessa Grant Trust which helps support handicapped children in Kenya.

Nutty said: "Vanessa was a great friend of mine and died while having her baby in Kenya. She’d realised what it was like over there and had wanted to set up schools to help handicapped children."

Bodsham’s box was among 400 that were culled by BT back in 2008.

The company drew up a list of the ones it planned to remove, which included boxes in Mersham, Sevington, Bilsington, East Brabourne and Stanford. It offered parish councils the chance to adopt the boxes for heritage or aesthetic reasons.

Selling plants in the box is Sandra Smith, who said: "The children of the village often stop off on their way home from school to have a look at what’s new – they call it the public library.

Bodsham phonebox library
Bodsham phonebox library

Picture by Martin Apps with Adam Smith, aged 7

"They like to see what new books are in there and often read the Farmer’s Weekly to have a look at the tractors. The mums stop off to have a look at the cookery magazines to get new recipes."

Fellow villager Kevin Stanley, who runs a number of lettings in Bodsham, said he and friend David MacFarlane helped save the box when BT decommissioned it.

He said: "It was the only box we had and there was a petition to keep it going. Unfortunately BT decided to pull the plug. But I know one of the parish councillors and we managed to adopt it.

"I gave it a lick of paint and we decided to use it for something and since then it’s been very well used - it works."

To find out more about the Vanessa Grant Trust

Mrs Thrupp is also looking for old school text books to send to Kenya. If you can help email tmorris@thekmgroup.co.uk

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