Emotions ran high as members of the public met to plan action to save Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Runner Sean Doyle choked back the tears as he spoke passionately about how the hospital had saved his life.
And many members of the public were moved to speak up about their determination to defeat health bosses’ plans to move emergency services to Halifax.
Speaking at the meeting at Huddersfield Methodist Mission, one young woman said the only way to get mental health crisis help out-of-hours was to go to A&E.
She said: “How are we supposed to get a six-foot-tall, 17-year-old lad in a mental health crisis, suffering severe panic attacks, to Calderdale?”
Sean Doyle, of Brockholes, told the 500 strong crowd he was “94% dead” when he was rushed to the infirmary’s A&E following a cardiac arrest.
Sean, who was taking part in the Huddersfield Parkrun in Greenhead Park when he collapsed, said he “would have been dead” if he’d been airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary.
Recalling the traumatic incident, Sean told the meeting: “I’m one lucky individual. Please give it all and support the campaign, like they saved me.”
Dr Adnan Muhamed, a former consultant paediatrician at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said a lot of doctors might feel it doesn’t matter if the A&E is only five or six miles away.
“This is not correct,” he claimed. “If you or me lose half-a-pint of blood then perhaps we would survive.
“But for children to lose even half of that, it could be a matter of death or life.
“I’ve seen it many times, I’ve been involved many times resuscitating children.
PRINT OFF OUR CAMPAIGN POSTER AND DISPLAY IT TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
“I know many children who are alive, thank goodness, because there is a local service.
“So it does matter. We need to get a good, well equipped, well staffed A&E department.”
Young people’s representatives also expressed anger and concern at the potential removal of a full A&E department in Huddersfield.
Jenny Goldman, from Holme and Colne Valley Youth Forum, said: “Young people need their A&E. One 15-year-old said to me if anything happens to me or my friends we would have to be on buses for nearly two hours.”
Liane Hunter, from Huddersfield University Students’ Union, said it was “absolutely diabolical” that students hadn’t been considered by health chiefs.
“We’ve got numerous amount of students that take placements at A&E and in the midwifery departments.
“They’re already facing bursary cuts. Does that mean courses are going to stop?”
She added: “We are clumsy, we like to go out, we do need an A&E, it’s vital for us.”
“The reason we lost is because there weren’t enough of us.
“Six hundred of us marched from the hospital 10 years ago, 2,000 marched around town.
“Please do something yourself.
“This is not a done deal. We can win.”
Erin Hill, a Labour councillor for Kirklees, congratulated people on the huge response against the proposals.
“I’ve been involved in quite a lot of campaigns and it is rare to see people pulling together like I know they have for this,” she said.
“It’s long been my belief that if we fail to take an interest in events and in politics and in the actions of our authority figures then all we’re doing is walking blindfolded into decisions that other people have made for us.”