Iconic phone box in Sherborne becomes life-saving community defibrillator

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A new defibrillator on Cheap Street continues the trend for repurposing the UK’s iconic but unused phone boxesinto community-funded local resources

Sherborne Defibrillator Launch L-R Jane Wood, Andrew Maddock, Nicola Girling, Juliet Pentolfe, David Hayes

A new community public access defibrillator (cPAD) has been officially opened by the Sherborne businesses and organisations who have supported the £3,000 project. Following a cardiac arrest the chances of survival drop dramatically every minute. The UK Resuscitation Council recommends that a defibrillator should be available when medical treatment is more than five minutes away, which includes most rural locations in the UK.
The defibrillator is located in Cheap Street outside Sherborne Post Office, in an iconic K6 telephone kiosk. It is designed specifically to give confidence to those attending a casualty and it provides real-time voice instruction, helping even inexperienced rescuers deliver effective CPR.
Inside the phone box, where the telephone once was, the defibrillator is housed in a heated cabinet to protect it from the elements. The unit is registered with South Western Ambulance Service so that when someone calls 999, they will be directed to the box (if it is the closest defibrillator to the casualty). No code will be required to access the device.

A community effort
A year ago, following a Sherborne Chamber of Trade appeal, local business Girlings Complete Hearing kickstarted the campaign with a £500 funding pledge along with a commitment to manage the project.
Midwest the Stationers raised a further £360 through a charity raffle. Nicola Girling said: ‘As hearing healthcare providers, we didn’t think twice about supporting a new health resource for the town.
Naturally, we hope the defibrillator isn’t needed, but it’s reassuring to know it’s available round the clock for a cardiac emergency’.
Following months of negotiation with BT and Royal Mail, the telephone box was formally adopted by Sherborne Town Council through BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme. Town Clerk Steve Shield said: ‘The installation of more potentially life-saving equipment, in such a prominent location in the town, is invaluable for residents, local businesses and visitors alike.’

A significant contribution
However this new defibrillator would not have been possible without the support of The Friends of the Yeatman Hospital (FoYH), which committed £1,740 to the project as part of its community outreach.
David Hayes CBE, chairman of the FoYH, said: ‘At the forefront of our priorities is emergency and long-term care for the Sherborne community. The defibrillator project is an excellent example of our contributions, and we are delighted to collaborate to ensure the equipment’s introduction and sustainability’.
BT continues to support the cost of electricity to the box, so the equipment will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. BT’s Mark Johnson said: “We launched the Adopt a Kiosk scheme because the red telephone box is a significant part of our national heritage. We’re pleased to support a project which not only helps continue the legacy of the red kiosk, but crucially provides communities with such a beneficial and life-saving function.’

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