From Just Giving:

The Story of Bertie Bargates

Many years ago, when he first took up residence on the Bargates, Bertie was tall and strong. He had a bright red coat and he carried out a very important role. Bertie was very proud to be there for the folk on the Bargates and Barons Cross. He was a life line to the wider world.

Many people would pass by him and admire his red coat. He had lots of visitors who would step inside him to keep in touch with family and friends. He listened in too many conversations, some happy, some sad and even some secrets might be heard, but Bertie knew never ever to tell tales. He was there for shelter and to keep the lines of communication flowing.

Over time the numbers of visitors dropped off. Bertie had heard that it was the thing to have your very own phone, right there in your own home. How wonderful, but what about me thought Bertie.

More time passed and Bertie watched the children he had seen when he first came to the Bargates passing him by with little ones of their own, and what was this new invention?

Surely not a phone you could carry in your pocket! It wouldnt catch on, it would be to expensive he thought but it did make him worry.

He was right to worry, the numbers of visitors who stepped inside his welcoming doors kept dropping, they didnt come to visit very often now, occasionally someone would step in out of the rain but that didnt put any change in the slot and with no money coming in who would look after him? He was very sad, his shiny coat was fading, his windows were broken, replaced and broken again.

One fateful day the worst possible thing happened, a man came along and removed his telephone and sealed his door. His heart was broken, was this the end for Bertie.

Time passed, the people walking by just looked right through him or worse still said how dirty and ugly he was, that he was useless and should be taken away. They had forgotten how smart hed been, what a wonderful link to family and loved ones. How he had called the fire brigade, the doctor and the midwife hed been part of his community, but no more.

Then one day someone stopped and looked long and hard at him, took pictures of his now moss green colour and broken windows and then went away to ponder and consult. I wonder … could it be …. what if? they said. Could there be a plan, could he be useful once again and stand tall and proud, a life line, a link?


We have a plan, its been done elsewhere the iconic red phone boxes that are part of our heritage are being repurposed. They are being turned into libraries, plant and seed swaps, mini museums or art galleries some amazing projects.

But what if Bertie could become a life saver? What if he became somewhere to house a defibrillator.

Up to 100,000 people in the UK suffer from an “out of hospital” sudden cardiac arrest making it one of the UK’s largest killers. The faster a victim gets medical help, the better the chances of survival. With CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) alone, the survival rate is around 5%, but if a defibrillator is available and used in conjunction with CPR the chances of survival for a cardiac arrest victim rise to more than 50%.

So the decision has been made to carry out the restoration of Bertie the redundant “K6” red BT Telephone box and to install a Defibrillator. Operated by Leominster in Bloom in partnership with The Community Heartbeat Trust and in association with The Rotary Club of Leominster.

Leominster in Bloom is the charity that initiated the project and is helping with publicity and fund raising to get things rolling. Although the red paint would be provided by the British Coating Federation the work has to be carried out locally by volunteers. A group of local residents and trades people have joined together to raise funds, carry out the renovation and provide aftercare.

Do you agree a defibrillator is needed in this area and would you help bring Bertie back to life so he can help save lives?

You can checkout Berties website

For further information or to offer help just email

To see what other communities have achieved see the Community Heartbeat Trust.

Donate now – BERTIE BARGATES RESTORATION PROJECT – Our Community Defibrillator in a kiosk – JustGiving