A charity is appealing for help to accelerate the fight against heart disease by setting up community volunteers groups in the Braintree district.

The British Heart Foundation wants to build on the four groups already set up in Essex, to help work as the face of the charity in the community.

Volunteers run fundraising events, support schools and businesses in organising collections and represent the charity at events.

Every pound raised by the community groups goes towards funding research to help people like Alex Beresford, who underwent life-saving heart surgery aged just 26.

Mr Beresford started to feel light headed and had heart palpitations before being diagnosed with a aneurysm - a year later he ran the Brentwood Half Marathon for British Half Marathon.

Kirsty Brzeczek, Essex fundraising manager for British Heart Foundation, said: "Heart disease is heartless. Too many lives are lost in Essex each year, and we’re determined to do everything we can to protect more families from this devastation.

“By joining or starting a community volunteer group you can help us fund the research that’s so desperately needed to bring us closer to beating heart disease.

"Together we can save more lives, and it’s a fantastic way to meet new people and make a real difference in your community

Visit www.bhf.org.uk/localfundraising, email brzeczekk@bhf.org.uk or call 07920 845365.