Campaigners fighting to save Huddersfield’s A&E unit are now drawing up final plans for a huge rally in town.
They expect thousands of people to turn out next Saturday, February 27, for the rally and march and hope it will be one of the biggest ever seen in the town.
Keynote speakers have already been invited to address the crowds in St George’s Square and full details of the route through the town centre are expected to be released within days.
The protesters are battling to keep a full A&E unit at the Royal Infirmary rather than see it transferred to Calderdale Royal Hospital. Health chiefs say it is more economical to centralise services at one hospital.
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Karl Deitch, who is behind a Facebook campaign for the unit, said: “The meeting time is set for 11:30am in St. George’s Square.
“A number of speakers who have shown support for the campaign have been invited to speak at the rally. They include Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield. Jason McCartney, MP for Colne Valley. Paula Sherriff, MP for Dewsbury and Mirfield. Jo Cox, MP for Batley, and Holly Walker-Lynch, MP for Halifax.
“The committee has taken on board the feedback from the previous rally and they have approached a company who have offered the use of a suitable PA for the occasion that will meet the requirements of such a large event.
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“The committee are using a large proportion of their remaining funds, and the plan is to bolster these by asking everyone present to very kindly bring a small, voluntary donation to be collected by stewards using collection buckets on the day.”
He added: “We are hoping that you can all help to make this one of the biggest events Huddersfield has ever witnessed by inviting all your friends and family, particularly those who will be most affected by the proposed cuts to services.
“We have been working hard to finalise the route plans amidst difficulties with ongoing roadworks, as the safety of everyone involved is paramount. The final route will be made available as soon as possible but it will be a short march in a loop around the town centre with stewards marking the route and making sure of the crowd’s safety.
“There will be some places along the route where observation is possible for those who are unable to march the whole distance covered.
“We urge you to be as creative as possible with your protest banners but respectfully ask that they are all ‘family friendly’.”