THE UK’s leading heart charity is appealing for volunteers this Christmas to help raise funds for life-saving research.

The British Heart Foundation is hoping the people of Oldham can lend an ‘elfing’ hand this festive season, by volunteering in the shop in Henshaw Street.

With Christmas being one of the busiest times of the year, the charity is calling on locals to donate the gift of time – even just for an afternoon. Doing so will help the BHF spread festive cheer and raise funds to transform the lives of those living locally with heart and circulatory diseases.

Linda Fenn, head of volunteering at the BHF, said: “Volunteering over the Christmas period is a fantastic way to give back to your local community and be part of a fantastic team. You’ll also be helping us to raise vital funds for research into beating heart and circulatory diseases, including heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia.”

“Each year heart and circulatory diseases kill around 20,000 people in the North West and currently 930,000 people in the region are living with these conditions. It’s essential that we continue to accelerate research into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat them. Without the generosity of our shop volunteers we wouldn’t be able to fund much of this life saving work.

"It couldn’t be easier to lend an ‘elfing’ hand to the BHF - just choose a date that works for you, pop into your local branch and arrange the day, sign up and start spreading the festive joy as a BHF elf. What better way could there be to get into the Christmas spirit than supporting a charity whilst sporting a Santa hat and tinsel."

The BHF says it can help discuss all the available options for volunteering with anyone interested in helping out.

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

Recent research commissioned by the BHF showed volunteering can improve mental health and help overcome loneliness. It can also make a real difference to volunteers' CVs, help you meet people from all walks of life and most importantly you will be helping the BHF to beat the heartbreak caused by heart and circulatory diseases.