Dorset residents have helped the British Heart Foundation raise a staggering £449,000 over the past year.

The money, raised by BHF charity shops across the county, will fund research into the UK’s single biggest killer and life-saving equipment for Dorset.

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.”

Around 1,125 people in Dorset and around 74,000 people across the UK die from coronary heart disease each year.

The money raised in Dorset last year enabled the BHF to fund 128 defibrillators, five healthcare professionals and life-saving diagnostic equipment, such as ECG machines and training manikins, for the local area.

Ms Cheeseman said: “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 will continue to support BHF shops for many years to come.”

BHF shops are located in Bournemouth, Poole, Christ-church, Weymouth and Dorch-ester and sell anything from clothes, shoes and handbags to CDs, DVDs and books.

The shops offer a free collection service for donations which can be booked by calling 0800 915 3000.

To find out more about volunteering at BHF shops, go to