LIFE-saving defibrillators have been donated to Bedford High School and Westleigh High School after sixth months of fundraising at Sainsbury's Leigh.

School representatives received the equipment at the Parsonage Retail Park store from Hand on Heart’s charity chairman David Howarth and former Leigh Centurion and Hand on Heart ambassador John Duffy.

Store staff organised gift-wrapping and bag-packing events assisted by Westleigh and Bedford pupils.

Manager Julia Blackett said: “We have now started on a journey with Hand on Heart and we believe working with the community is vital to protecting the hearts of our children.”

Building companies involved in the new Sainsbury’s store, QED Construction and Bowmer & Kirkland Ltd, each donated £1,000 to the amount raised.

Westleigh High head Mr John Banks said: "Our year 7 students sang carols at Sainsbury's and collected donations. As a school, we recognise and appreciate how this vital piece of equipment could help to save someone’s life and we are looking forward to working with the Hand on Heart charity to receive training in the use of the defibrillator.”

Acting Bedford head Mr Jim Kileen explained: “Our students have raised £1,000 towards the cost of the defibrillator through a non-uniform day."

"Twelve young people lose their lives each week due to sudden cardiac arrest according to official statistics published by the government. Of those victims 270 will be at school. Having staff trained in school to use the defibrillator provides an extra safety net. We are delighted to be involved with such a worthwhile cause."