Residents from Derry Hill, who hope to install a defibrillator on the outside of the village hall, have been awarded a £1,000 grant towards the cost.

The life-saving equipment, which is estimated to cost £2,200 to buy and install, would be provided through the charity Community Heartbeart Trust.

It delivers an electric shock intended to re-start a stopped heart and can be used by anyone without prior training.

Despite an initial recommendation for refusal, the grant was allocated by the Calne area board after resident Paula Edwards defended the need for the machine.

Wiltshire councillor Keith Humphries, cabinet member for public health and protection services, said 78 per cent of cardiac arrests happened in the home rather than public places.

He said: “Every minute after a cardiac arrest occurs the chances of recovery drop by ten per cent.

“The criteria for a machine is usually 500 people plus in the local area. That’s what we do in public health.”

But Ms Edwards, a member of the village hall committee, said the defibrillator could be justified as the village had more than 600 houses, two care homes, two pubs and a primary school.

She started the project after seeing a defibrillator installed in Bremhill last May, following a donation from a family who suffered bereavement.

The project first gained momentum in December last year when members of the Calne Without Parish Council decided to award £200 towards it.

Residents also collected £300 at Christmas when they went round carol singing.

Speaking after the grant was awarded, Ms Edwards said: “So far we have £200 from the parish council and £300 from carol singing and now £1,000 from the Area Board – so we need another £700.

“There are smaller places than Derry Hill who have defibrillators, but it’s not just about the number of people, it’s whether you can get an ambulance out in time.

“I would really like to emphasise that we are definitely hoping to get a second or possibly third defibrillator for Derry Hill and Studley eventually, as we feel there is so much enthusiasm in the village to support this project.”

Calne Without Parish councillor Barry Miller, who suffered a heart attack nine years ago, said the project would encourage more people to learn about first aid.