TWO Huddersfield women who work daily to save lives have joined the fight against nuclear weapons.
Julia Mercer and Lesley Hedges are in Scotland taking part in a health professionals' blockade of the Faslane Trident submarine base in west Scotland.
The base is on the Gare Loch, at the entrance to the Clyde estuary.
The women have joined the Faslane 365 group, a civil resistance project to apply public pressure for the disarming of Britain's nuclear weapons.
Ms Mercer, 56, from Longwood, is an occupational therapist for the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust.
She also helped to blockade the base in November and plans to go back for a third stint later this year.
She is a grandmother-of-five and
says the proposed increase in nuclear weapons should concern all health professionals.
She added: "In Huddersfield our local health services are closing down due to financial shortages.
"Yet our Government is planning to squander obscene amounts of money on weapons of mass destruction.
"Plans to replace Trident are dangerous, illegal and an immoral waste of money when we need more and better schools, hospitals and social care.
"Nuclear weapons are poison. Just one present warhead is seven times as strong as the Hiroshima bomb.
"That was devastating, with 140,000 civilians killed.
"We ask the Government to protect our security effectively by funding solutions to the real threats we face today, terrorism and climate change.
"An increase in nuclear power puts the world at greater risks. Nuclear weapons are evil, morally insane and as a country we shouldn't have them.
"They undermine demands to other countries to reduce or not to develop nuclear capacity."
Ms Mercer has taken part in a number of protests over the years and has also campaigned against the war in Iraq.
Ms Hedges, 57, from, Golcar, is a public health specialist for Barnsley Primary Care Trust.
She is also a Green Party activist and was last year's candidate for the Golcar ward in the Kirklees Council elections.
She said: "Reducing the number of nuclear warheads from 200 to 160 is an empty and pathetic gesture.
"It would still create 1,280 times as much destructive power as the Hiroshima bomb.
"The reduction will make little practical difference. As a public health specialist and nurse I now know far more about the long-term effects on people and the environment.
"There are long-term health implications, especially for children and future generations because of the radiation. People exposed to it can die horrendously, burned from the inside.
"I don't know how the Government can even consider it.
"We should do everything we can to rid the world of these destructive weapons.
"The money can definitely be spent elsewhere, such as on health and schools. These essential services need more funding."
Last year Ms Hedges addressed Huddersfield trade unionists on the threat of nuclear weapons to mark the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the world's first nuclear bombing.
Although the protest at Faslane is expected to be peaceful, both women have such strong beliefs that they are prepared to get arrested.
During their stint there they were joined by health professionals from elsewhere in the UK, as well as Ireland, Germany and Sweden.
While blockading the gate they are handing out leaflets.
To keep themselves entertained they will celebrate Burns Night with a party, piper and haggis.
They also plan to set up a Treatment Not Trident clinic in a Glasgow shopping centre. There they will take blood pressures and hand out `prescriptions' for the prevention of nuclear war.
The one-year protest began on October 1 and has attracted campaigners from all walks of life, including MPs, students and church ministers.
There have been almost 500 arrests so far.