A NEW life-saving defibrillator has been installed in a traditional phonebox in the centre of Witney.

The device, which is used to provide a powerful electric shock to help save the lives of people suffering cardiac arrests, has been set up in Market Square.

Witney Town Council made the decision when one of the iconic red phone boxes became available adjacent to the Town Hall.

With help from the Rotary Club of Witney the telephone box was cleaned, painted and the glass replaced.

Leader of Witney Town Council Toby Morris said: “It is very reassuring to think that, if called upon, any one of us could operate the defibrillator and potentially save a life whilst waiting for professional help to arrive.

“The town council is grateful thanks go to the Rotary Club of Witney for their fundraising efforts.

“We are immensely proud to support this community access defibrillator which, whilst we hope it is never needed, could save lives.”

The device is kept within a secure high-visibility cabinet inside the phone box, which is accessible 24 hours a day. In an emergency, callers dialling 999 and quoting the unique location code will be given the access code needed to remove the defibrillator from the cabinet.

It is fully automated and simple to use following the written instructions and voice prompts.

Dion Hickin is the chairman of Rotary Club of Witney.

He said: “The new defibrillator installed in the Market Square is an example of a charitable organisation, such as Rotary working with the town council to provide an important piece of life saving equipment in the town centre.

“By following the simple instructions any member of the community can play an essential part in saving a life.

Sudden cardiac arrest accounts for around 100,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Early intervention, CPR and access to a defibrillator are key to increasing an individual’s chances of survival.