It may have been a humorous stunt but a Last of the Summer Wine bed-push in Holmfirth on Saturday had a deadly serious motive.
The event, with Compo and Nora Batty characters being pushed on a route from Sid’s cafe to the Sands recreation ground and back again, was organised by supporters of the Hands off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary campaign.
They raised around £500 which will go into a fund to finance legal action aimed at blocking proposals to replace the hospital with a new smaller version that would lose the town’s accident and emergency department.
Instead, patients would be expected to travel to the Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, where A&E facilities would be focused in future.
Saturday’s event was aimed at keeping public attention on the campaign as well as raising money towards the estimated £30,000 cost of mounting a challenge to the proposals.
Laura Booth was among those who supported the event, baking a cake for a ‘guess the weight’ competition.
Two volunteers took on the roles of the comedy characters and the bed push was helped along with volunteers from the Target gym in New Mill.
“It was absolutely hilarious, they were really funny. It was going on outside Sid’s cafe and I think customers there were delighted to see them,” she said.
“It was a really good event and it raised more than £500 which will go towards the legal fund to fight the closure of the A&E department in Huddersfield.
“They are hoping to raise £30,000 for the legal action,” she said.
The push took a route via Hollowgate to the recreation ground before returning to the cafe, making calls at pubs along the way to try to whip up additional support and donations for the campaign.
The proposals will move forwards again this week with the publication of results of public consultation work expected to be published on Tuesday.
Since the proposals were announced, there has been a highly vocal campaign against the plan, with a series of demonstrations and marches, with protesters now planning to try to block the plans through the courts.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been approached separately by councillors and campaigners wanting to draw attention to the issue.
Both have been declined meetings, however, with the minister stating that hospital provision in the district is a local issue and the decisions must be made locally.