HE'S been a children's favourite for decades - and now Sooty is helping to save lives.

The iconic puppet has raised funds for a campaign which is installing life saving equipment at public sites around Aireborough and Wharfedale.

The TV character's image is now emblazoned on a community public access defibrillator presented in Guiseley at the weekend.

Money was raised from ticket sales at the world premiere of a documentary about the bear and his inventor Harry Corbett, who retired in 1975 after suffering a serious heart attack. The defibrillator was presented on behalf of Mr Corbett and Sooty to Brian Firth from the Global CPAD Campaign.

The documentary's producer and director Jeff Smart said: "The unit has now been placed on the outside of the theatre, and will remain as a tribute to Harry Corbett and may one day save someone's life."

The donation is the latest in a highly successful campaign. Just three years ago there were no community public access defibrillators within Aireborough and adjoining towns. But since the launch of the Global CPAD Campaign a total of 58 have been put in place with more still waiting to be installed.

The initiative was started by Brian Firth in 2013 after the death of a customer at Morrisons supermarket in Guiseley. Earlier this year one of the campaign's defibrillators was used to save the life of Otley and Yeadon councillor Ryk Downes who suffered a heart attack while out running.

Brian, who is a volunteer community first responder with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said there were no public access defibrillators within eight miles of Guiseley in 2013, but since its launch the campaign had gone from strength to strength.

He stressed: "It is a proven fact that if a person goes into cardiac arrest their chances of survival are substantially increased when a defibrillator is readily available."

Schools, businesses and individuals have been rallying round to support the cause, and now Brian has placed an additional three defibrillators within the Aireborough area.

One is at Hawksworth Primary School - funded by the school, the campaign, local residents and the the British Heart Foundation. Another has been installed Westfield Junior School, in Yeadon - paid for by the British Heart Foundation, the campaign and the school itself. The third, donated by David Metcalfe, of Hunters in Yeadon, was fitted outside the Village Bakery on Town Street in Rawdon. Bakery owners Helen and Glen Wilton covered the cost of the installation.

There are now three more defibrillators awaiting installation. The Campaign has also installed the equipment in Gildersome, Rotherham and Berwick upon Tweed.

The campaign can be found on Facebook at Public Access Defibrillators.