Thousands joined Campaigners in a day of song, in a party atmosphere likened by some to Glastonbury!
The event opened with the NHStival Choir comprising members from the Hands Off HRI Campaign, members of the public and of course the fantastic Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir. The choir formed a joint campaign group initiative on the inspiration of Sarah Stock of Fighting for Life Lincolnshire. Hospital and NHS Campaign Groups across the country have created their own choirs, with the blessing of Coldplay’s Chris Martin. All individual choirs across the country will release a combined video of “Fix You” to celebrate the 69th birthday of the NHS on 5th July.
The bands then commenced with Fiery Biscuits, Days of Riot, 6 Months in Mexico, Bands of Oz, Bravado Cartel, Vital Statistyx, Helter Skelter and finished with Audley Buckle & Superfly singing the now infamous Chicken & Chips. Band members, some of whom work in the NHS, throughout the afternoon called on the public to continue the fight with renewed determination, to keep our A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Between acts, our local MP’s Thelma Walker, Barry Sheerman and Paula Sherriff spoke about their commitment to preventing the closure of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and the downgrading of its A&E facilities. Thelma indicated that she had already secured the support, of Jonathon Ashworth – Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Health for our Campaign. Barry applauded everyone in the campaign and asked us to get ready for the next challenge. “We have a world-class university and a premier league football team, we want world class health care in our town”. Barry told the crowds that he had been in discussions with the University regarding the possibility of having a teaching hospital in Huddersfield and financial experts at the possibility of restructuring the ruinous Calderdale PFI.
Meanwhile, our local entertainment groups were busy in the bottom field with Shoestring Punch and Judy, Huddersfield Thai Boxing, Reach Academy Art HD1 under the excellent direction of MC DJ Soul, whilst children played on the children’s activities such as zorb balls and climbing wall.
The Event Organising Committee of Hands Off HRI would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to all the Bands, Local Entertainment Groups, Stewards and members of Hands Off HRI who gave their time for free and to our major sponsor Unison and other local businesses who donated their goods and services to enable this fantastic event to go ahead.
We would also like to thank the public of Kirklees for their continued support of Hands Off HRI and genuinely feel that, as a community, we will prevent Calderdale & Greater Kirklees CCG in their proposals.
We would also like to thank the Huddersfield Daily Examiner and Kirklees TV for attending and reporting on the event and of course, for their continued support of all campaign groups fighting to retain adequate medical services in Huddersfield.