The story of our phone box defibrillator begins in 2015 when West Row came second in the Suffolk Village of the Year competition, following an entry involving many community organisations. To commemorate the result, the main people involved in the bid decided to put the £750 prize money towards an AED – automated external defibrillator – a portable device that could potentially prove to be life saving in an emergency.
It was decided that the device ought to be housed in a traditional red telephone box. As no such boxes existed in the village, an old unwanted one was eventually found and purchased from Northlew Parish Council in West Devon, which was then transported back up to Suffolk and lovingly restored by village resident Paul Hamill.
The foundation agreed to adopt the box, providing a permanent powered location for it at our Chapel Road site in the middle of the village, where it has been since it was officially opened in February 2017.
In the event of an emergency, a 999 operator will give out the access code to the cabinet housing the AED, which can then be collected and talks the user step by step through its operation.
Additional funding for the phone box defibrillator was donated from our local District and County councillors, and the device itself was subsidised by the British Heart Foundation.