A defibrillator has been installed in a village phone box as part of a potentially life-saving venture between a college, parish council and community group.
The vital equipment has breathed new life into the phone box on Beyton village green in the first big venture involving the community and Thurston Community College since its sixth form opened in the village two years ago.
The project was a joint initiative between the college, Beyton Parish Council and Beyton Village Association. It was officially unveiled by Bury MP Jo Churchill and accepted by student Ruby Last, who played an instrumental role in the initiative.
Dr Jean Wheeler, assistant principal at the college who worked with vice principal of Thurston Sixth Paul Potter on the project, said: “It has cemented what were already very strong relationships.
“We moved into Beyton two years ago and this is the first big venture where the college and community have worked together on an extremely worthwhile and potentially life-saving project.”
Dr Wheeler devised the idea with Graham Jones, chairman of the parish council as well as Lynn Johnson and Matthew Caldwell-Nichols, who are members of the association.
Ruby, 17, played a vital role in helping to secure funding from the National Lottery, which paid for the installation, change of use and refurbishing the phone box as well as awareness training sessions. Ruby, who is studying health and social care, psychology and biology, hopes to study paramedic science at university and may well go on to have first-hand experience of using a defibrillator.
She and her friends gave the phone box a coat of paint and handed out leaflets to advertise the training sessions.
The device delivers a brief electrical jolt to establish a normal heart rhythm.
Dr Wheeler said points of contact could be set up between the three organisations for those residents in need of the defibrillator. Giving an example, she said: “They could ring the college and we could get one of our 18-year-olds to run down and get it (to them).”
Residents can learn how to use the device and basic CPR skills at a training session, also funded by The Community Heartbeat Trust, at Thurston Sixth, Beyton campus on November 3 from 6pm to 7.30pm.