Huddersfield Town chairman Dean Hoyle has backed the Examiner’s Save HRI A&E campaign and said: “What price do we put on people’s lives?”
Flanked by head coach David Wagner, the Town chief has thrown the club’s support behind the drive to keep emergency services at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Mr Hoyle said: “For me this feels completely wrong. Huddersfield is a huge town. I am a local lad living in Mirfield, on the periphery of all this, but there is talk of Dewsbury hospital A&E being downsized too and that will cause real problems.
“As for Huddersfield it’s going to take more time to get to A&E in Halifax and we all know how bad the traffic is.
“We don’t like being political but when we feel something is right we want to get behind it and Huddersfield Town Football Club gives this campaign our full support.”
Mr Hoyle gave his backing in a video on the Examiner’s website and on Saturday the club’s support will step up a gear.
The Town players will wear special campaign T-shirts on the pitch before kick-off against Cardiff at the John Smith’s Stadium and club mascot Terry the Terrier will parade with a banner.
At half-time fans will be urged to get behind the campaign and join the 40,000 people who have already signed an online petition.
During the interval speakers will include double heart attack survivor Sean Doyle, whose life was saved by doctors at HRI.
Dad-of-two Sean, 48, collapsed at Huddersfield Parkrun in Greenhead Park in May 2013 and believes the proximity to A&E meant he beat the odds. Doctors later said he only had a 6% chance of survival.
Sean organised a run between the Huddersfield and Halifax A&Es ahead of a rally in St George’s Square last Saturday to raise awareness and also spoke at Wednesday’s public meeting at Huddersfield Methodist Mission.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to be asked to speak,” said Sean. “I will try and hold it together as usually it gets me every time.”
Mr Hoyle and Mr Wagner posed with the Examiner’s #HandsOffHRI poster and urged fans – and the whole community – to sign up.
Mr Hoyle called for a rethink by health bosses and said: “I believe this is a decision that needs to be looked at very closely by those in charge and I’d urge everyone to sign the online petition, which needs 100,000 signatures for the issue to be considered for debate in Parliament.”