Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Old telephone box to be turned into visitor attraction

Old telephone box to be turned into visitor attraction

THE telephone box in Rotherfield Greys is to be restored so it can be used to provide visitor information.

Residents and businesses in the historic village have contributed towards the cost of converting the old red kiosk, which BT sold to Rotherfield Greys Parish Council in March last year for a nominal £1 as it was in a poor state of repair and could only make calls to numbers in the village.

When the restoration has been completed, leaflets will be placed in the box in Greys Road, telling visitors about the village’s connection to Norman knight Anchetil de Greye, who was registered as the landowner in the Domesday Book of 1086.

The phone box will also point people to artwork by children at Peppard Primary School and old photographs of the village to be displayed at the well head opposite.

The kiosk has been wrapped in plastic and taped shut until the spring when the work will begin.

Signs have been stuck to the outside asking for donations towards the renovation to be made at the Maltsters Arms pub.

Nicola Whittle, who chairs the restoration committee, said the box is in “quite a sorry state”.

She added: “We had some meetings to work out how to raise money and what we were going to do with the box.

“We have not decided what it will look like inside yet. Hopefully, it will be beautiful.

“We want to put the children’s art in the locked-up cabinets in the well head and will signpost it from the telephone box, so they work together.

“Hopefully, we will be able to finish it in the summer. We still need donations.”

The committee, which also comprises villagers Tom Marshall, Claire Howlett and Emma Turner, has so far raised £1,055, which is enough to replace the glass and cast-iron frames for the door.

Companies based at the Greys Green Farm Business Centre have made donations, including organic baby food company Ella’s Kitchen, which gave £150, Hennell Vehicle Services and chartered accountants Knox & Eames and Bruton Charles.

Rotherfield Greys Parish Council and Greys Green Cricket Club both donated £50 and Greys Green Golf Club also contributed. Another £350 was given by the Rotherfield Greys fete committee from the proceeds of this year’s event.

Regulars at the pub have put money in the collection bucket with one man, who wanted to remain anonymous, giving £200.

Pub manager Ciaran Evans said: “We are very good friends with the guys running the restoration committee and we said ‘yes’ to having the collection bucket without even thinking about it.

“It is nicer than your average charity box and gives people a tangible local community benefit that they are donating towards, so they are more likely to contribute.

“Sometimes it is just 50p or whatever they have got left over after a pint but we have had people leave envelopes with about £100.”

The restoration work will begin when the weather improves.

Mrs Whittle said: “What we need to do is strip all the layers off, right down to the bare metal.

“We have spent weekends and evenings trying to strip the paint off.

“We are getting there and have stripped the paint off three sides. We just have the back and the roof to do.”

Parish clerk Jane Pryce said: “They are doing a brilliant job but I’m afraid it is a lot of work.”

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