THE Helensburgh branch of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is appealing for Burgh residents to donate the gift of time by helping the volunteer effort in the town.

The charity store, based in West Clyde Street, is looking for spare pairs of hands in the community to help raise funds for life-saving heart research, whether volunteering on a one-off afternoon, picking up a few shifts or exploring volunteering longer term.

Volunteers will be able to help with a wide range of tasks such as sorting donations, dealing with customers and creating imaginative window displays.

The BHF has also supported the installation of public access defibrillators throughout Helensburgh, Lomond and the peninsula, with more than 30 machines now in place giving 24-hour access to the public.

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Billy Johnstone, BHF area manager, said: “The Helensburgh shop is one of the busiest shops we have and we are always looking for volunteers to support the many tasks needed to run a successful shop.

“We currently have 17 volunteers, doing between two and 25 hours per week.

“Volunteering is a fantastic way to give back to your local community and be part of a fantastic team, whilst also helping us to raise vital funds into heart and circulatory diseases, such as stroke, diabetes and vascular dementia.

“Our volunteers have a huge impact on raising money through our shops and with support we can keep hearts beating and blood flowing.”

Talks are ongoing to install a device at the Garelochhead Medical Centre to add to the potentially life-saving options in the village.

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The BHF has previously supported new projects with grant funding and Billy Johnstone added: “If there are areas where the public think there should be a defibrillator then we will endeavour to support this need.”

John Webb, coordinator with the Garelochhead and Rosneath Peninsula Community First Responders, said: “We currently have 10 devices in the Garelochhead and peninsula area, which is quite good coverage actually.

“There have been 10 successful defibrillations in Helensburgh because the machines are available, but obviously not all attempts are successful.

“Time is of the essence in these cases and the primary thing is to have someone performing CPR.

"In one instance, a patient survived for 45 minutes on just CPR and he is now back fit and healthy without any neurological problems. This just highlights the importance of having these machines available.

“Maintenance costs are not cheap; a round figure for the machine, case and installation is £1,500.

"The sooner you can get the defibrillator on the better the chances of survival are, which is why we are so keen on getting them out to the public.”

For more information on how to get involved with the charity, visit