ALMOST £300,000 was raised to pay for lifesaving equipment, vital research and six nurses by British Heart Foundation shops in Oxfordshire last year.
The charity said it was delighted that donations and sales, plus volunteering to help the foundation, had raised so much.
The £294,000 had helped pay for six heart nurses at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, 44 defibrillators and 76 research projects in Oxfordshire.
Among those who are being supported by the cash is Dr Carolyn Carr, who is working on a three year project looking at stem cells to repair hearts damaged by attacks and disease.
Dr Carr said: “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without people donating. Without the shops raising money it would be so much harder to do the research we do.”
She added: “Heart failure is the leading cause of mortality now.
“All the drug therapies help the heart to keep going but don’t repair the damage a heart attack does.
“Stem cells are going to revolutionise the issue of heart failure.
“If we can get it working it will absolutely transform therapy after a heart attack.”
Funding has also gone to Professor Sir Rory Collins, who runs large-scale studies into the causes, prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory problems and Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya, who is investigating the importance of genetic and environmental factors in congenital heart disease and heart failure.
About 600 people die from coronary heart disease in the county each year, a British Health Foundation spokeswoman said.
The defibrillators have been given to clinics, organisations and hospitals including Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital, South Central Ambulance Service, the Westgate Centre, Donnington Health Centre, Oxfordshire County Council and Jericho Health Centre.
British Heart Foundation area manager Margaret Richardson said: “The generosity of people in the Oxfordshire area has been astonishing.
“We want to thank every single person who has joined us in the fight against heart disease.
“Quite often people don’t realise that the sofa or dress that they donate to a British Heart Foundation Shop actually raises vital funds and helps pay for anything from an echo machine in the local hospital to a community heart support group.
“We couldn’t fund this lifesaving equipment or research in Oxfordshire if it wasn’t for the local community and we hope they are feeling proud by the difference they are making and inspired to keep visiting British Heart Foundation shops.”
In the UK, about 80,000 people die of the disease every year.
The charity has a furniture and electrical store in Banbury and shops in Oxford, Headington, Cowley, Abingdon, Didcot, Bicester and Banbury.
The shops offer a free collection service that can be booked by calling 0844 334 1400 or visit bhforg.uk/free
A TOTAL of £294,000 was raised by shops in Oxfordshire in the last financial year (2012-13).
The charity’s Oxford shop in St Ebbes Street raised £35,000, up from £33,000 in the previous financial year (11-12).
More than £31m has been raised nationally.
The money has funded:
Six heart nurses at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
76 vital research projects in Oxfordshire
Nationally, the charity’s shops sell 90,000 items everyday and have more than 20,000 volunteers
There are more than 700 shops in the UK.