Mellis: Phone box projects unites community

COUNCILS are cutting back on their costs but one Suffolk parish has brought the community together by spending just �1.

Mellis Parish Council spent the tiny amount on a decommisioned red phone box at the start of the year.

However, they were unsure of what to do with it until villager and local artist Hilary Beal put forward the idea to fit stained glass windowpanes.

Within 10 days Ms Beal, of Earlsford Road, Mellis, had 24 people say they would be interested in getting involved in the project.

It was opened recently by BBC journalist Martha Kearney as part of the Mellis Festival.

“It took three months and there’s 500 hours’ work in the phone box,” Ms Beal said.

“It’s a centre piece for the village, it’s unmissable, it’s quite gorgeous.

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“This glass is so special, if you do pass it by, it stands out. There’s a bright atmosphere in the village.

“It’s been a nice focus of attention and I have got to know more people. It’s turned out in a unique way.”

Ms Beal taught people the skills required to cut, grind, copper foil then lead solder the glass panes. The original glass was removed from the phone box and then a small team of people pressure-washed and rubbed down the paintwork. It was then painted and the glass was finally fitted. Postcards showing images of the stained glass panels, which have the theme of Mellis Common, will soon be for sale in the Gallery at the Railway Tavern.

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