Hands Off Our Hospital: Protesters ready to hit the streets

A FINAL rallying call has been made to people in Redbridge to take to the streets for a protest march on Saturday against plans to close the borough’s only A&E unit.

Hundreds of banner-waving campaigners are expected to join the march from Little Heath Green to Ilford Town Centre.

They hope to put pressure on Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, who has been asked to make a final decision on the proposal to close the A&E and labour ward at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

Campaigners, including Upkar Rai, vice-president of Seven Kings Gurdwara, will be marching.

He said: “If we can’t get together when there’s an issue that will cost lives and a lot of grief, when else can we get together?

“We must spread the message across the community.”

A number of speakers will address the crowd at the start and the end of the two-mile march.

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They include Mr Rai, council leader Cllr Keith Prince; Ilford North MP Lee Scott; Ghazanfar Ali, chairman of the Ilford Islamic Centre and Jim Page, of lobby group Keep the NHS Public.

The march has been organised by Wilson Chowdhry, who has described the event as a “pivotal moment” in the battle to keep services at the hospital open.

“The community is really coming together for this march and it is set to be the biggest one yet,” he declared.

Speeches start at Little Heath Green at noon on Saturday, with protesters leaving at 12.30pm.

Further speeches will be in front of the former Harrison Gibson store in Ilford Town Centre at 2pm, when protesters complete their walk.

Members of Seven Kings Gurdwara will give out free food and drink from a marquee in the town centre from 11am.