From landmark to lifesaver

A WELL-LOVED local landmark, saved from demolition, is all set to save lives — thanks to the efforts of a local community group and the Community Heartbeat Trust.

The unique, red telephone kiosk situated on Werneth Low, Hyde — famously known as the Tejrjwne box— now houses a defibrillator and will serve the community with support from the Community Heartbeat Trust and the North West Ambulance Service

Official opening of defibrillator

The phone box, which has stood at the top of Joel Lane for more than 50 years and features on a number of local artist’s paintings, became a curiosity when locals noticed one of the illuminated panels displayed the word Tejrjwne rather than Telephone.

Nobody can recall when Tejrjwne first appeared, but for many years, people have unsuccessfully tried to fathom the meaning of the word. There have even been several online documentaries about the box, and there are thousands of online searches of Tejrjwne each year.

However, the famous K6 kiosk was under threat this time last year when BT gave notice of its removal due to a lack of use.

The Friends of the Tejrjwne Red Telephone Box was quickly formed after Sue Ellis, who lives on Joel Lane, contacted the GX Brabyns Neighbourhood Watch Group and other interested parties to form a committee and save the box from demolition.

James Ward and telephone box restorer Keith Iball

Sue had the vision of fitting a defibrillator in the box after her husband, Steve suffered a near-fatal heart attack earlier that year. Luckily, he was saved by volunteer first responder James Ward who was stationed nearby.

“Steve was in real trouble that day and the first responder arrived very promptly and took charge of everything. I knew Steve was in good hands from the minute James walked in our house,” said Sue.

The box was formally adopted by The Community Heartbeat Trust on behalf of the group in January. Since then, it has been lovingly restored by Keith Iball, of Higham Lane, who painted the box and replaced all 72 Perspex panes with strengthened glass in preparation of the fitting of the defibrillator.

It is also hoped that the box will also attract interest from the wider community and encourage people to explore the local country park as there are plans to put a map on the back of the box and have holders installed to house literature about local walks in the area.

Paramedics James Ward and Lisa Stanway check the defibrillator

“We want to encourage young and old alike to enjoy their environment, taking in the flora and fauna to improve their well-being,” added Jane Williams, secretary of the Friends’ group.

The Friends would like to thank Tameside Council for their backing in the adoption of the telephone box and in particular their community safety unit for their support in a funding application to provide this facility for the benefit of the community.

To celebrate the activation of the defibrillator, The Friends of the Tejrjwne Red Telephone Box invited James, the first responder who helped save Steve’s life, to officially open the box on Sunday, August 23.

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