A CONVERTED phonebox, used to donate and borrow books, has been rescued from despair by a caring resident.

Jamie Druce, 39, a stay-at-home mum to two, decided that the Bootle Book Box, an exchange place of books, was in need of some attention.

She said: "I used the book box myself to gift and borrow books and saw that it was in a bit of a sorry state. It was damp affected, many of the books that had been sat there a long time were weather damaged, it was very dirty and full of leaves. It was sad to see it looking that way, as it could have been much more."

After checking if locals would have any objections to the regeneration, and contacting Captain Shaw's Primary School, where the phone box is based, and getting the blessing of original creator Brenda Hill, Jamie set to work to restore it to its former glory.

With the backing of Bootle Parish Council, who own the box and provided funding for the regeneration, as well as Bootle in Bloom who subsidised the rooftop flowers, and her partner Nathan Forey who helped with the manual tasks, the job was soon complete.

Miss Druce said: "About 70 per cent of the old books sadly had to be recycled for their paper. I started Googling for book retailers, distributors and publishers and sent out a vast amount of emails, canvassing for donations of new books. I had a brilliant response back. 17 pledges of support were sent back and new books started to arrive in box loads.

"I added an 'interest' shelf too, which has things like pocket money games and toys, activities and crafts, seeds for local gardeners and other little goodies. Again, all brand new and sourced through donations from businesses. That has gone down a storm and the local children are really enjoying visiting Bootle Book Box every day before or after school, to see what new and exciting things have been put out on the shelf.

"I've been checking in daily and it's already being heavily utilised by the community and I'm restocking it every evening!

"It has so much more to offer people now, than it did before I started this project. Before it didn't look very inviting. It wasn't reaching its full potential as a community asset. Now, it is really being enjoyed and that's exactly what I had aimed for.

"I really have put my heart and soul into it and the end result has been so worth it. I grew up with a huge love of reading and writing and did outstanding at school in English and English Literature - something that has served me well into adulthood. English, reading and writing are so important in our every day lives and everyone should have free and easy access to books - whether it is a child of one or an elderly person of 101."