A kind-hearted Samaritan donated £2,000 to a local slimathon because he wanted to give a young girl the chance to live.

Stephen Moule, 63, of Warwick Drive, Maldon donated the sum to Heybridge Slimming World’s slimathon, which is raising money for a new extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Heybridge Slimming World chose to raise money for this cause after the machine saved the life of member Rachel Perkins’ four-year-old cousin, Ava Mears, when she contracted a group A streptoccocal infection in January.

She 'died' four times during treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital and to recover she was placed on an ECMO machine, which works as an artificial heart and lungs to pump blood around the body.

He said: “I saw the photos of the girl who was ill in the paper and I wanted to give her and others a better chance in life.”