AN old phone box in the centre of West Malvern has taken on a new lease of life - as an informal village library.

The initiative started with village resident and artist Sarah Bennett, who said:

"I realised the phone box was unused and getting tatty and heard of other boxes being turned into mini libraries.

"I approached the parish council who agreed for me to make a conversion, repaint the outside and stock it up with my surplus books. I'm happy to see it being used as a book swap."

The village's district councillor, John Raine, said: "I was very pleased when, at a meeting of West Malvern Parish Council last autumn, I heard Sarah offer to fit out the redundant telephone box as a mini community library/book swap facility.

"With parish council agreement, Sarah did exactly that - using a couple of old shelving units that she happened to have and an initial supply of books, suitable for all ages.

"I am sure that the initiative will prove to be a valued resource for younger and older readers alike and I have been more than happy to commit half of my annual ward budget to funding the installation of new, tailor-made, shelving - by local joiner Brandon Roberts - so that maximum use can now be made of the very small space, and all finished in matching telephone-box red."