A group of 5 Rudgwick residents have completed the restoration of an old BT red phone box in the centre of the village turning it into a kids Book Swap which will be formally opened by the famous British actress Dame Julie Walters on 2nd September at 3pm.
Project chairman, Edward Butler first had the idea for the library when walking his son Ollie to the primary school. He noticed how sad it looked and wondered how easy it would be to convert.
With a bit of research he found that several other boxes had been converted into libraries and he set out on his project. He formed a steering committee with 4 local ladies who were invaluable in helping drum up support from local businesses.
“Berkeley Homes in particular were very kind in giving us a generous donation and that really got the project over the line. They’ve built a lovely new development of houses in the village so they really wanted to help out. That money made it possible for us to finish the project before the kids go back for the new school year which was always our intention”.
The local people of Rudgwick also dug deep into their pockets and gave enough money that the committee could employ full time restorer Tim Ralph to do the work.
“We were all blown away by Tim’s dedication and craftsmanship throughout the project” said Edward. “Initially we wanted to do the bulk of the work ourselves as a community but when we realised how specialised it was and how intricate in detail it would be, we were actually quite relieved to hand the restoration over to Tim!”
This box will become a place where kids aged 3-16 can come and swap a book on the way to school. Local resident Julie was delighted to have been asked to unveil it and being a Harry Potter and Paddington Bear actress she has many links to the literary world.
Edward says, “the book swap will make the phone box part of the village again, not to mention encourage the children in the village to learn to read! Its been really rewarding doing it and I hope the kids get a lot of enjoyment from swapping their books to and from school”.