A POTENTIALLY life-saving device has been installed in a phonebox in memory of a popular teacher.

Derek Smith, who was a teacher at Tranent’s Ross High School for 35 years, died suddenly in September last year. He was 64.

Now, the West Saltoun Community Trust has renovated the phonebox – which no longer has a functioning phone – in the village, where he lived, and installed a defibrillator.

Derek’s daughter, Catriona Hunter, will be on hand to officially open the phonebox today (Friday) in West Saltoun.

Catriona, who had a younger sister Debbie – who sadly passed away more than three years ago aged 27 – and also has a brother, Euan, was “really emotional” when she heard of the idea.

She said: “It is lovely that people thought so highly of my dad in the same way his family did. It is lovely that the community felt the same.

“He gave a lot to the community but he got a lot back from them.

“This is just really nice and what a tribute.”

Catriona, who works as a GP in Edinburgh and lives in Haddington, highlighted the importance of defibrillators, particularly in rural communities.

She added: “These are things that save people’s lives.

“It is amazing to have something like that to hand which can be used in a remote setting like West Saltoun. Hopefully, it never needs to be used but if it does then that is excellent.”

The phonebox incorporates stained glass panels by local glass artist Kate Henderson.

The panels are inspired by memories of Derek, who was a PE teacher and PT guidance at the secondary school, suggested to the artist by his family and friends.

One of the panels commemorates his long service as a teacher.

Paul Reynolds, headteacher at the school, said: “Derek was a much-loved member of the full Ross High community.

“He was known throughout for his passion and commitment to young people, and those not so young, both in and out of school. As a PE teacher, Derek was renowned for his dedication to wellbeing and so this is a perfect tribute to a great man.”

The father-of-three was also a member of Humbie, East and West Saltoun, and Bolton Community Council, where he received a long service award.

He was also a key part of the resilience effort in the village, collecting shopping for people who were unable to venture out due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Funding for the defibrillator and the refurbishment came from Haddington and Lammermuir Area Partnership, the Gillian Charlotte Campbell Fund and local fundraising.

A defibrillator is used to restore a normal heartbeat by sending an electric pulse or shock to the heart.

They are used to prevent or correct an arrhythmia, a heartbeat that is uneven or that is too slow or too fast, and can also be used to restore the heart’s beating if it stops.