Like a bus that never arrives, two Parish Council projects have come together at once and will be signed off as “complete” at this weeks Bi-monthly meeting.

British Telecommunications (BT) has a longstanding wish to decommission public phone boxes where they have fallen into disuse. North Perrott Parish Council (PC) entered into an agreement to adopt our Phone Box, as it is generally accepted to have become part of the accepted scenery of our Conservation Area. This agreement includes BT continuing to pay for illumination inside the box and the PC maintaining the fabric. The public payphone has now been removed.

The refurbished telephone box is located on the junction of East Street with the main road, oposite the Village hall.

The project to refurbish the Phone Box was initiated by Cllr Tom Winder, before he stood down as a Parish Councillor. He took the project as far as purchasing spare windows, rivets, door braces and paint and made a start of the detailed work of paint stripping.

However, the glory of the finished article goes to Harvey (and Councillor Steve) Coate, who have spend many hours rubbing down the old paint and prepping the framework to restore it to a fully functional and weather proof structure. They have included picking out the royal crown in gold and recently completed the replacement of broken and missing window panes. Refurbishment included changing the illuminated signs in the top of the box to now read DEFIBRILLATOR, indicating its change of use from a public payphone.

During the Telephone Box project, the Parish Council also initiated a plan to purchase a defibrillator for village use. Following the initiative of other villages, the redundant telephone box seemed a sensible place to house it. Its central location, opposite the Village Hall and next to the Village Green seemed a sensible location.

The Parish Council owes a sincere debt of thanks to the Friends of Crewkerne Hospital who donated 50% of the purchase cost of the defibrillator, thanks to a local initiative widely publicised by Tony Foot, the Treasurer of the charity.

While the Telephone box was being restored, it was kept by the Holy Cow milk vending machine outside the farm shop. There is now a sign in its place, to indicate the new location.

The purchase of the defibrillator included a training session for up to 12 people, but Covid lock-down 16 months ago, interrupted being able to book this service. Hopefully we will be able to hold a training session in the Village Hall in the near future.

The defibrillator is there to be used in case of emergency, when someone has suffered a cardiac arrest and has stopped breathing. The defibrillator is a fail-safe device to assist in keeping a patient alive until the emergency services arrive. In order to have a good chance of saving the life of a patient in cardiac arrest, the most important skill is a knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). this involves the correct positioning of the patient, chest compressions, opening the airway and giving rescue breaths.

In the case of someone suffering from cardiac arrest (no heart beat), the most important thing is to call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Then commence CPR and only locate and use the defibrillator when you are sure that simple CPR has not revived the patient. If there is more than one person present, then several of these steps can be taken at once, but it is most important that CPR commences as soon as possible and continues until the ambulance arrives.

If the patient has not responded to CPR then the use of the defibrillator might be critical to restarting the patients heartbeat and this will be important in keeping them alive until the emergency services arrive.

The defibrillator box is locked and alarmed. Push on the glass to obtain the key and access the device.

The defibrillator is a self contained unit with simple and clear instructions. It includes all the consumables required, including wipes, electrical pads, scissors and gloves. When in use, the unit will talk the operator through each stage of use and most importantly, it monitors the patients heartbeat. This is crucial in the safe operating of the machine and it will NOT administer an electrical shock if the patient does not need it. Throughout the procedure, it will advise if CPR should be continued or if you should stand clear, ready for a shock to be administered.

We sincerely hope that the defibrillator will never need to be used, but North Perrott is quite a distance from the two nearest Ambulance stations at Yeovil and Illminster and so it is felt that in a cardiac arrest emergency, it could be a life saving tool.

In addition to the defibrillator, the bright red box will also contain a village information pack, that will include print-outs of some of the information that can be found on the village website including the Heritage Trail and quiz that was commissioned by the PCC for their own website