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Phone box library opens in West Norfolk village after resident’s work

People in a West Norfolk village who need something new to read over the festive season can now find inspiration on their doorstep.

An old phone box in Ingolside, Snettisham has been turned into a mini-library with the support of the village’s parish council.

The project of Sally Phillips and her partner Andy, who moved to Snettisham in 2015, is now open for residents to exchange and borrow books in a Covid-safe way.

Sally Phillips after decorating the Snettisham book box for Christmas
Sally Phillips after decorating the Snettisham book box for Christmas

She said: “The phone box looked so sad and unloved it was a project I really wanted to take up. I contacted the council who agreed to adopt the box from BT on behalf of the village.

“Once BT removed the telephone it was back to me to start the works. Working full time and with a hectic cottage renovation still to complete, it was slow progress.

“That was until 2020 and Covid hit! I was furloughed and suddenly had too much time on my hands.

“Out came the broom and power-washer to clean away years of cobwebs and dirt. Clean and prepped it was ready to paint.

“I met some lovely people walking past as I painted, and everyone was keen to see it finished.”

She added: “Shelving was the next step, which is where my partner Andy came in. Another weekend of building, sanding and oiling saw the shelves complete.

“I loved filling the completed box with books and had to stop when I found myself putting them in alphabetical order and into genres! Clearly a missed vocation to be a librarian rather than a Project manager!

“We have had over 300 likes to the Facebook post on the village page the uptake and enthusiasm has been tremendous.

“I’m so pleased to have been able to do this and give something back. This is my gift of time to the village.

“This has been an extraordinary year and one we’ll never forget, but it’s also a year when communities have pulled together - I hope this can be a 2020 legacy which everyone will enjoy for years to come.”

Parish council chairman Alf Todd thanked Sally and Andy for their work on the project.

He said: “I was really impressed with what they have achieved. We have been so fortunate in the village in the way people have come together to help the community over the last few months.

“This is a perfect example of what can be done when individuals have an idea, and the energy and commitment to put it into action.

“Hopefully this will be a well-loved, and well-used, reminder of some difficult times. I shall be visiting often.”

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