A PHONE BOX bought for a pound is set to become a miniature tourist information centre.

The plan is being put together by the community on Portland who rallied together to save their valued phone box.

The Friends of Wakeham Phone Box formed when they heard the last remaining kiosk in Wakeham would soon be removed.

It comes after a purge by BT to cut boxes as they are no longer economically viable.

A rise of mobile phones has sent payphone use plummeting in recent years.

The group appealed to Portland Town Council to adopt the phone box as part of an initiative launched by BT to protect the heritage of communities.

With the support of town councillor Elspie Munro-Price, the islanders now plan to transform it into a Tourist Information Centre.

Nigel Glover, chairman of the Friends of Wakeham Phone Box, said: “It started at our Jubilee street party when Wilma Butler, a Wakeham resident, alerted us to the fact the phone box would be knocked down.

“We all felt passionately that we wanted it to stay so we formed a group and vowed to save it.”

It is hoped the maintenance of the phone box will be achieved by expansion of the group in order to generate donations, group membership and local business advertisement to maintain the box.

Mr Glover added: “With the loss of the Mermaid Inn at the bottom of Wakeham, which used to maintain quite a pile of local information, it was felt that this would be a good use for the phone box. “It will be stripped and painted, installed with racks for leaflets and so forth and a solar lighting system installed.

“The ‘telephone’ signs in the top of the box may be changed to ‘information’, but the box will remain looking like the classic K6 Red Telephone Box that epitomises British villages.”

Wilma Butler, a member of the group, said: “It is hoped that the box will help generate and maintain a village feeling in Wakeham.”

Ian Looker, parish clerk of Portland Town Council, said: “We have had three notifications on the island of plans to remove phone boxes.

“They only cost £1 for us to buy from BT but the maintenance costs meant that we couldn’t afford to save them as we have limited funding.”

A number of redundant kiosks have been transformed by local communities into tourist centres, mini libraries and resting places for walkers.