They’re boxing clever at Upper Hopton.
A disused phone box bought by the community for just £1 has proved a focal point for the village – helping to promote local events and raising a smile with a series of animated displays at different times of the year.
But John Broscombe, the man with responsibility for the phone box at Jackroyd Lane, warned that anyone thinking of adopting one of the iconic red phone boxes had better by prepared for some hard work to make it fit for other uses.
His comments come after it was revealed that BT plans to axe more than 100 BT phone boxes in Kirklees and Calderdale.
Communities are being asked to think outside of the box and step in to save the iconic red phone boxes by adopting them for just £1.
In Kirklees 55 phone boxes could go - 21 of them red phone boxes. In Calderdale 46 could be lost.
Said Mr Broscombe: “We bought ours for £1 – but it costs hundreds of pounds to get them back into condition. We were approached by BT about buying it and we agreed to take it on because we did not want it to fall into disrepair – and to demolish it would have been like having a missing tooth. I was asked to take it under my wing.
“We dug it out – because it was set into an earth bank – and built a small wall and planted flowers around it. We scraped off all of the old paint back to the bare metal before giving it several coats of primer and painting it again. We replaced the plastic windows with perspex sheets as a short term measure. We bought enough toughened glass for the front. In all it has cost us about £500.”
The plastic sign saying “telephone” in a 1930s font was also replaced by another in the same style saying “Upper Hopton”.
Said Mr Broscombe: “It was quite fun, but we put an awful lot of man-hours into it.”
Since then, the phone box has been used to mark the Tour de France Grand Depart and has also promoted Hopton in Bloom with an animated display showing flowers rising out of a plant pot every time someone pushed a button fitted to the door handle. It has also promoted the Poppy Appeal and in the next few weeks will feature an Advent calendar.
Mr Broscombe said the phone box, which is backed by Upper Hopton Community Association, was kept locked unlike some adopted call boxes which are accessible because they are used as libraries or to house defibrillators.TAKE a look at Upper Hopton's dvent Calendar phone box below
“A lot of people have bought them and tried all sorts of things,” he said. “You need someone who can look after them every day. Unlocked, it is an invitation for misuse. Luckily, we have had no vandalism at all.”
Said Mr Broscombe: “It has been a godsend because it creates a lot of interest in the village.”