Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners and supporters staged a victory parade and party on September 14 to celebrate the campaign’s achievements over the last year, to say ‘thank-you’ and to prepare for a fightback against the unexpected appeal by Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt.
Despite the rainy weather, several hundred people including residents, GPs, civil servants, politicians and musicians marched down through Molesworth Street, turning into Lewisham High Street and finally passing in front of Lewisham Hospital. They then progressed onto Ladywell Fields for an afternoon of family fun and musical entertainment in the park.
One prominent feature of the march was the presence of a Lewisham Council garbage truck emblazoned with ‘Justice for Lewisham’ and displaying the campaign website. It was slowly leading the procession along.
The London 2012 Olympic drummers were also drumming away with loud chanting from marchers behind.
The campaign group Tweeted: Great turnout today, despite the rain. We’ve marched past our amazing Lewisham Hospital.
Dr. Louise Irvine, Chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign added: “After almost a year of intensive campaigning, we held a very positive celebratory family event to mark our July victory in the High Court and to say thank you to the people of Lewisham for the amazing support they have shown for Lewisham Hospital.”
At Ladywell Fields, people relaxed and danced in the company of musicians and delighted themselves with a range of family activities, including races and novelty rides. However, campaigners were aware of the challenges Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s last minute appeal presented to them and made sure people knew of it in the parade and party.
“We must not be complacent. The road ahead is still fraught with danger to our NHS and the fight has to continue”, they stated in their event leaflet.
Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock passionately said: “We will be back in court next month and once again we will make it clear that they were wrong in the beginning and they are still wrong now!”
The campaign group have since launched a petition asking the Government to withdraw its appeal.
For a unique review of our coverage of the the Save Lewisham campaign so far, see our TIMELINE.
A charity fundraising ball is also to be held at the Rivoli Ballroom on September 27 to raise money for the impending legal costs that Hunt’s appeal presents them.
The charity fundraiser will feature acts such as The Grey Cats, Tony Patience Band amongst others, and will have a couple of DJ sets courtesy of popular Rivoli regular Lynn and her Vinyl Lounge. A raffle is also planned with several unique collectors’ pieces up for grabs. These include a Martin Rowson original print featuring Lewisham Hospital, which he has donated to the campaign.
Tickets can be purchased on their website.
Additional reporting by Chris Dillon. Video by Bill Konos.