Hydestile Crossroads residents have held a party in a phone box to celebrate the renovation of the traditional red kiosk and its new role as a location for a defibrillator.
Almost two dozen Crossroaders, past and present, raised a glass of champagne to toast the completed restoration before moving on to a garden party.
The kiosk, a familiar landmark on the approach to Hambledon, looked resplendent with new paint and a new sign around the top of the glass sides stating “Defibrillator”.
The transformation of the former payphone is the work of neighbouring Busbridge Parish Council. The crossroads forms a part of the boundary between it and Hambledon Parish Council. Many rural payphones see little use and Busbridge PC decided it was no longer prepared to pay a maintenance fee to BT for it to remain operational.
Instead it negotiated for BT to remove the phone apparatus and to hand over ownership to the council. It then had the kiosk professionally restored, inside and out (see earlier news story on this website), and for the defibrillator to be installed. The box will continue to illuminate at night.
The initiative was led by Busbridge councillors Alison Martin and John Graves. John, who lives at the crossroads, and his wife Elaine hosted a garden dinner party following the kiosk celebration.
The gathering brought together almost all of the current crossroads residents and the welcome return of a few who have moved away.
Those present, and in our various photographs, are John and Elaine Graves, Allan and Di Kerr, Sally and Steve Marks, Stewart Payne and Mary Burrows, Chris and Sylvia Harrison, Martin and Janine Barratt, John and Jean Adams and recent arrivals Mark Cookson and Liz Tomlinson with baby Phoebe.
Returning to join in the party are former Crossroaders Ross and Jan Kilsby and Jacqueline Walker.
And if you look closely at the photos you may notice HM The Queen put in an appearance.
A rota of local residents will be set up to regularly check on the defibrillator and several have volunteered to undergo training on its use.
Defibrillators, also known as AEDs (Automated External Defibrillator), are used on people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, a major cause of premature death. The device detects the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electric shock (defibrillation) to re-establish the heartbeat.
The defibrillator at Hydestile joins others already installed in Hambledon; outside the village shop, at the church and on the exterior wall of the Merry Harriers.
The one at the shop is located on the wall beside the red phone kiosk. This kiosk has been “listed” as a heritage feature by Historic England and cannot be removed. It still has a working phone but callers must use a credit card as it no longer accepts coins. Emergency and operator calls are free.