UNUSED telephone boxes in Monmouthshire have been given a new lease of life by having defibrillators fitted.

Trellech United Community Council (TUCC) have refurbished units throughout the area due to 'widespread anxiety' felt by remote communities regarding an ageing population and long response times from the ambulance service.

Many of the former BT units have doubled as tourism information points after a similar appeal was made by the TUCC to residents asking what they think was required.

Communities in Penallt and New Mills will receive the defibrillators inside the former BT phone boxes on the proviso that local community groups would undertake the general oversight and maintenance of the site.

Other sites agreed for defibrillators include village halls at Trellech, Llanishen, the Narth, Catbrook, Whitebrook and Llandogo.

According to TUCC chairman Bob Dagger, the idea for the refurbishment came from a Community Led Plan in 2014.

He said: "We started talking about defibrillators after it was suggested that small remote communities could benefit from such devices as we tend to effectively be at the end of a long lane when it comes to the emergency services.

"TUCC also took over several former BT telephone boxes, and supported the local community in making use of these redundant facilities, this has included information centres and very recently some defibrillators."

Monmouth company Thomas Electrical installed the most recent units for free and while Newport's City Electrical Factors supplied the necessary wiring and parts, free of charge.

The Welsh Ambulance Service will provide free training locally in the use of the defibrillators.

In Penallt, the TUCC provided the paint for retired builder Bryn Boycott to repaint the local box and glass artist Cathy Farber to replace some panels with stained glass.

The Penallt box will be managed by the Babington Meadow committee and Councillor John Baldwin has undertaken to keep a daily eye on the 'reinvented and extremely useful community asset'.

Local councillor Tessa Murray said: "I think it's very important for rural areas that could suffer from ambulance waiting times.

"I think it's a great idea as its both practical and useful and quite a few people have asked when the training will be."

For further information on the phonebox renovations, contact TUCC clerk Ann Davison on 01594 530295 or trellechunited@btinternet.com