Large demo in Huddersfield to save the A&E, 23.1.16, photo Rosa Curtis

Large demo in Huddersfield to save the A&E, 23.1.16, photo Rosa Curtis   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

The second annual Hands Off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (HRI) ‘Party in the Park’ attracted thousands to Greenhead Park, Huddersfield on 24 June. It was a magnificent display of solidarity and helped raise funds for the campaign to keep Huddersfield’s A&E department open.

After a short, silent tribute to those involved in the recent London and Manchester tragedies, where many NHS employees selflessly assisted the injured, a newly formed choir, “NHStival” sang its heart out to Coldplay’s Fix You, an apt song for the NHS.

Eight rock bands encouraged the crowds to sing, chant and dance throughout the day. The crowds were also entertained with a funfair and outside sports activities.

Other campaign groups and charities were represented.

Adrian O’Malley, hospital porter and union representative and Socialist Party member, said the recent general election results had helped to slow down the Tory cuts, however, there is still a refusal to give NHS staff a decent pay rise.

Mike Forster, Huddersfield Socialist Party secretary and chair of Hands Off HRI, led an enthusiastic rally cry, almost as loud as the rock bands! “Whose NHS?” “Our NHS” the audience chanted back.

The event raised an estimated £4,000 which will go into a fighting fund to pay the legal costs of fighting the local Clinical Commissioning Group.

Huddersfield Socialist Party had its own stall and raised money towards the party’s fighting fund, sold dozens of papers and badges, and filled up several petitions calling for full funding for the NHS and also for social housing in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Huddersfield Socialist Party member