Chorley A&E campaign is marching on
Protesters will link hands in a show of solidarity while bikers will rev their engines outside Chorley and South Ribble District General Hospital.
The protest, which will see Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle and the leader of Chorley Council councillor Alistair Bradley addressing the crowd, takes place on March 10 between 10am and 11.30am.
When bosses at the hospital announced that the accident and emergency department would be closing in April 2016 residents came out en masse to express their outrage.
Fired by a sense of injustice campaigners have since turned out every Saturday to campaign against the closure of the A&E unit.
They wanted to see Chorley A&E reopen full-time on a 24/7 basis.
While they paused to celebrate the reinstatement of the department part-time just under a year later in January 2017 protesters said their battle was only half way there and have continued to stage demonstrations outside the hospital on Euxton Lane each week.
Now, although there is no sign that Chorley’s A&E will reopen full-time, they are committed to their cause and are nearing their 100th week of protests.
Jenny Hurley, who is heavily involved in the campaign to see the acute department reopen, said: “This is to celebrate the amazing dedication from the people of Chorley and South Ribble in defense of our NHS.
“In order to keep the issues in public view, they will have been on the gates of the hospital for an incredulous 100 weeks - every Saturday since April 2016.
“Their inspirational fight for a health care service that’s publicly owned, publicly run and free at the point of use is a thing to be proud of.
“I’m honoured to call them my friends and family.”
The demonstration will also mirror a march in 1975 when protesters in Chorley took to the streets to demand that their 24-hour hospital casualty service was reinstated as it had only been operating on an “office hours” basis at the time.
The decision to march and hand in a petition to the Town Hall was made at a meeting of Chorley Trades Council, and it was backed by workers from Leyland. Petitions were circulated throughout both towns calling on the public to support the campaign which culminated in a mass march on March 7.
In a comment which bears striking similarities to today’s situation the trades council chairman at the time Harry Clarke said: “We’ve had a couple of heart attack cases recently, but luckily the casualty unit was open at the time. What would have happened had it been closed? People will lose their lives if we don’t do something.”
And he accused the area health authority of not looking hard enough for more doctors.
“It’s a serious problem we are facing and until we make a noise people are not going to take any notice.”
In the demo this March motor bikers are to come out in force and protesters will create chain of supporters from Preston Road to Euxton Lane entrances at 10am.
The Duke of York pub on Bolton Road will be welcoming campaigners for a free hot pot and music at 12.30pm.