The bid to save Huddersfield’s A&E took their battle to the most powerful address in the UK.
Campaign group #HandsOffHRI delivered a petition with more than 134,000 signatures to Prime Minister Theresa May at Number 10 Downing Street this afternoon.
Earlier the campaign, battling the controversial Right Care Right Time Right Place plan, joined other groups, fighting to save their local hospitals, in Trafalgar Square.
Following a rally and chants of ‘Hands Off HRI’ the groups marched down Whitehall drawing attention from tourists and sympathetic bus and taxi drivers who tooted their horns in support.
The entourage assembled outside the Department of Health and continued the chanting which echoed off the walls of the building.
Meanwhile a small group, including local MPs Barry Sheerman, Jason McCartney and Paula Sherriff, crossed Whitehall to hand a copy of the petition to Number 10.
After handing in the petition against the plan to close Huddersfield’s A&E and centralise emergency care in Halifax, the campaigners regrouped in Parliament Square for another rally and more chanting.
Campaign founder Karl Deitch said: “We knew there would be a big crowd today. Hopefully it will make people’s ears prick up.
“We are not wasting our time doing this until we get what is rightfully ours – and that is an HRI with full emergency services.”
Joining the Westminster demonstration were Scissett couple Rachel and Martin Devereux with their two-year-old son Caeleb, 2, and baby Hemera.
Rachel said: “It’s our children’s future. Huddersfield is far too large to have no A&E.”
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said: “There’s complete under-investment in the NHS and it needs tackling.”
She added to campaigners outside the Department of Health: “Don’t let them fob you off.”
If the plan goes ahead it would leave all of Kirklees without an A&E, once emergency care ceases at Dewsbury District Hospital.
HandsOffHRI secretary Nicola Jowett said the visit to Downing Street had been empowering.
She said: “It was awesome. We asked if Theresa May was playing out! That was the most Yorkshire thing ever.
“It was quite empowering because at the moment she is the most important person in the country.”
Campaign chairman Mike Forster said: “It has gone better than we expected.
“We’ve had fantastic support from the public.”
And campaigner Ria Flatley, who helps design HandsOffHRI merchandise, added: “It was a real confidence boost with the reception we got in Trafalgar Square.”