KIND-hearted Dorset residents have helped raise almost half a million pounds to save lives.

British Heart Foundation shops have raised £449,000 in the past year to help fund research into heart disease.

It has also helped buy 128 defibrilators and fund five healthcare professionals and life-saving diagnostic equipment such as ECG machines and training mannequins.

The BHF also currently funds 19 Heartstart schemes in Dorset, which teach emergency life support and CPR training in local schools and businesses.

Debbie Cheeseman, BHF area manager, said: “We’re truly overwhelmed with the ongoing generosity of the local community in Dorset. We’re so grateful to all our supporters and want to thank every single person who has joined us in the fight against heart disease.

“People often don’t realise that the sofa or dress they donate to or buy from their local BHF shop actually raises vital funds and helps pay for anything from an echo machine in their local hospital to a community heart support group.

“We couldn’t fund this life-saving equipment or research in Dorset without the support of the local community and we hope they continue to support us.”