A DISUSED public phone box has been bought for £1 by councillors who want to use it to store medical equipment which could save lives in a remote part of Teesdale.
The sale of the phone box, in Lartington, from BT to Lartington Parish Council, was finalised last month and councillors are now raising money to store a defibrillator in the facility.
The machine, which delivers an electric shock when someone is having a cardiac arrest, and its case, will cost about £1,300.
Donations of £200 and £50 have been received from Durham County Councillor Richard Bell and pharmaceutical firm Glaxo SmithKline, respectively.
The parish council needs to find another £500 as they have been promised match-funding.
Parish clerk Ian Jerred described purchasing the phone box as 'the easy bit' and urged the community to help raise the remaining funds needed to secure the defibrillator.
He said: “Suggestions and donations will, needless to say, be very welcome.
“We do have some reserves to put towards the project but we would like to raise another £500 to make the venture truly viable.”
Chairman Richard Campion said that other villages in Teesdale had defibrillators stored in their village halls, but Lartington had been unable to get one because the village has no hall.
He said: “It is an excellent idea because of the relative remoteness of the village and because there are quite a few older people live around here.
“Another parish councillor’s mother had her life saved by a defibrillator.”
Vice chairwoman Sharon Parsons-Munn added: “With all the cuts, ambulances seem to getting further and further away from the dale.
“There are lots of walkers and cyclists also pass through the area so we thought a defibrillator would be something that Lartington would benefit from.
“Those first few crucial seconds of treatment can be life-saving.”
Councillors will work with the North-East Ambulance Service to provide training when the equipment is installed.
BT will maintain the electricity supply to the phone box for the next seven years.
According to the British Heart Foundation, when someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by ten per cent.
Members of the public interested in helping with the fundraising are asked to attend the parish council’s next meeting, at the Methodist hall, in Cotherstone, on Tuesday (May 13), at 7pm.