10th April 2020
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Cruise ship unwittingly plays role in phonebox restoration

An “iconic” phonebox on the West Side is on the cusp of a major renovation, and the Queen Mary II has played a role in its planned £4,500 redevelopment.

West Side resident Henry Anderton has started a fundraising page aimed at saving the dilapidated call box at Lera Voe, in the hope that it can be transformed and given a new lease of life.

He has already bought the phonebox from BT for a princely sum of £1, and hopes it can be used as a visitor attraction.

But a chance discovery of a message in a bottle thrown from the luxury ship in December 2018 has led to a major $1,000 donation coming from a State-side publishing company with a focus on communication technology.

The money, which equates to about £750 Sterling, has come as a crucial boost to the renovation efforts, which require over £900 alone to replace the lost door, blown away in a winter gale a couple of years ago.

Another $1,000 donation has also found its way to Mr Anderton from the same organisation, which he said was called Project 2600.

That second payment is being donated to a charity of Mr Anderton’s choice – the Ocean Clean-up Campaign.

Speaking to The Shetland Times, Mr Anderton said he believed it was essential to see the phonebox saved from further deterioration.

He added that it was often used as a reference point when people were asking for directions.

But Mr Anderton said he had become concerned when BT said it planned to get rid of the old phonebox.

He said he had been advised on where he could get spares, but a new door alone would set him back £930.

“On 2nd February I was out putting feed boxes to the sheep,” he said. “I thought I’d go and pick up some rubbish from the beach. I came across this glass bottle with a message.

“It was from an outfit called Project 2600. It had come from the Queen Mary II.”

Mr Anderton emailed the contact and was greeted with “great excitement” that the bottle had been found.

The bottle was then posted back to the company, and Mr Anderton took part in a radio interview conducted from New York.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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