ILMINSTER’S carnival committee has helped to save lives after funding vital first aid equipment in the town.

The Ilminster Defibrillator Team was handed a cheque for £600, raised during last year’s festivities.

The carnival’s other main beneficiary was the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, who said the funds would also help to save lives across the region.

Each year, the committee is able to give out thousands of pounds to good causes thanks to the hard work of its volunteers on carnival day.

Brad Amor, from the Ilminster Carnival Committee, said: “The presentation evening took place on Tuesday, February 26 at The Shrubbery Hotel, in Ilminster.

“We gave out a total of £2,300 from our 2018 collection.”

The carnival team also handed cheques to Wellington Majorettes, Vaughan Lee, St John Ambulance, Ilminster Fire Brigade, Ilminster Lions Club and Moorlight Theatre Productions.

Sophie Storey, who is part of the Ilminster Defibrillator Team, said: “It is amazing really for us.

“We have two defibrillators which are leased and that lease is up next year.

“We have continued to fund-raise since we put them in so we are able to just renew that lease when we need to.”

The current installations are in the phonebox in the town centre and at the Archie Gooch Pavilion.

Plans are also in place to bring a device to the town, which Sophie said they hope to site in the Swanmead area.

The defibrillator team was handed £600 by the carnival committee.

Sophie added: “We can see that they have been used, so it is great to know that we are making a difference.”

Lara Battersby, Communications Officer for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to Ilminster Carnival Committee for selecting the Charity as one of the chosen beneficiaries for last year’s carnival event.

“Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance receives no direct funding from the government or the National Lottery and relies on the generosity of the public for support.

“With each life-saving mission costing approximately £3,000, we are extremely grateful to receive this support which will help towards our operational costs.”