Please hold the line caller

Author: Mrs Elizabeth Dawes

Published on: 20 May 2021

Just opposite the church in Blickling, on the side of the road, is a lovely old red phone box which, a couple of years ago, was looking a bit unloved and forlorn.

The Aylsham & District Team Ministry decided to buy the phone box from BT and restore it with tender, loving care to use as a community facility but they weren’t sure what at the time. The National Trust at the Blickling Estate got involved and just as the last lick of paint and pane of glass was being applied the pandemic broke out. An immediate use for it suddenly became obvious. It became a community larder for the residents of the Blickling Estate which includes the parishes of Aylsham, Blickling, Itteringham, Oulton and Ingworth, with food available to anyone who needed it and no questions asked. As the cafés closed due to restrictions on the Blickling Estate, the fresh fruit and vegetables they could no longer use were donated to the larder.

The Revd Jack Branford, who was a curate in the team at the time and instrumental in the setting up of the larder said, “Since the pandemic we have seen a hike in use at the church food bank, so we decided to turn the phone box into a larder. It has been very well used because it’s in the middle of nowhere. It means people have more anonymity.”

Over the course of the last year the larder has been in constant use. Tesco in Aylsham have been amazing and donate items weekly to stock it and a kind volunteer goes over weekly to refill it. The feedback has been amazing and one Blickling resident said it perfectly shows Blickling, the church and the community.


The author...

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Mrs Elizabeth Dawes

Licensed Lay Minister, Aylsham & District Team Ministry (Benefice)

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