A UKIP councillor from Skegness is dialling international relations up a notch - by giving a British icon to Germany.
Coun John Byford answered a long-distance ‘call’ to use his artistic talents to reconnect Skegness with its twin town of Bad Gandersheim.
It may have the ‘wurst’ possible signal (there is no phone inside) – but this old telephone box is now doing its bit to promote Skegness as a resort.
After painting the red icon a shade of ‘yellowbelly’ last week – and filling it with images he took of the Lincolnshire coast – visual artist and East Lindsey councillor Byford personally drove it to Germany in the back of a van.
“I just wanted to create something to promote Skegness and hopefully make more people want to visit,” he said.
The art installation he created also signals the need for people to stay connected in the digital age via more personal, traditional means.
Currently in Germany, Coun Byford is overseeing work to make it a permanent feature in the town’s historic square, where it acts as a mini interactive exhibition.
“It is certainly making people talk already, which is what it’s designed to do,” he said. “People can go inside and write messages on postcards for others and think about how we can better connect.
“It will remain like this for one year. After that, other artists can apply to showcase their work inside it.”
An event to launch the phone box takes place there on Monday – with a traditional English tea party planned.
The phone box was originally from Ingoldmells, but had spent a number of years on the site of The Royal Hotel in Skegness, which donated it for the project.
Coun Byford praised the community and local businesses who offered support to enable the project to take shape. He will return to the country in 2018 to work on an art piece commemorating the end of the First World War.