On 5th July I was thrilled and felt extremely privileged to attend the NHS' 65th birthday celebration at Trafford (née Park) General Hospital, which is often referred to as the birth-place of our wonderful National Health Service as it was the very first hospital to join.
On arrival the strains of New Orleans' jazz vibrated up and down the parade of shops and through the milling crowd. Below is a photo of the Mark Rodger Manchester Jazz band playing below and in front of the hospital's signage.
I happily signed the birthday card; although with my arthritis, I had difficulty gripping even the oversized marker-pen as can be seen in the photo below.
I made new pals in an amiable couple Jenny & Andrew, himself a wheelie, and who both do volunteer work for WoWpetition. In the photo below, Jenny proudly displays her placard which reads:
HAPPY 65th BIRTHDAY
I [heart icon]
There was a point at which the several hundred folk there assembled were asked to hold hands and form a human chain in a public demonstration of our admiration of our NHS. Alas, as I was holding hands, I could not take a photo of the action!
After the mark of respect and solidarity, we were manœuvred into positions for a march of protest past the front of the hospital and towards a local park. Various unions as well as the public were involved, including Unite and in the photo below, members of Unison holding up a very large banner. I realise the photo has a slightly odd perspective; but remember, I am in a wheelchair!
Once in the park there was a festival atmosphere with stalls, a stage from whence bands played and also from which various speeches were delivered.
I was also there in my capacity as a volunteer for and on behalf of WoWpetition. The photo below is of our team of helpers and supporters, including inter alia myself on the left followed by Reverend Paul, Jenny and Andrew.
So why am I just now telling you of an event that occurred almost a month ago? Well, unfortunately our protest fell on deaf ears and shortly afterwards Jeremy Hunt ruled that Trafford General Hospital could be downgraded.
However, not to be beaten the Save Trafford General campaign fights on. The flier at the top of this blog-post reads:
6pm, Wednesday 31st July
Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford, Manchester M32 0TH
My comment would be: if you don't fight for it, you lose it! I hope some of you may be able to attend.