Saturday, November 24, 2012
The awful weather didn't stop Lewisham residents coming out this afternoon in support of the campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital. Estimated attendance was well over 5000 (some estimate 15,000), and along the march, drivers stuck in traffic beeped their horns in support. People were still arriving at Ladywell Fields at the back of the hospital when the rally being staged in the park was finishing, and many attending were disappointed to get there too late to 'link hands' around the hospital.
This apparently happened earlier but not quite as smoothly as expected because there were too many people – causing the organisers to divert protesters to avoid disrupting the normal running of the hospital, especially emergency services. Our small posse of Crossfields residents (there were many others from Crossfields and other familiar Deptford faces on the march) arrived towards the end of the rally in time to hear the Lewisham Hospital Choir followed by a rallying speech from Deptford MP Joan Ruddock.
ITV video report here. Although the BBC has been covering the story, they seem to be following the plot of BBC2's The Hour, letting ITV scoop the local news and missing the momentum of their story – which is that what's happening in Lewisham reflects what is happening (or will happen) nationwide.
There is another Public Meeting on Wednesday 28th November, 7pm at Broadway Theatre, Catford.
After this, there's an important public meeting on Tuesday 4th December, 6pm at the Calabash Centre (George Lane SE13 6HH), where Matthew Kershaw, the 'Trust Special Administrator' will be present as part of the 'public consultation'. See this page, where you can also find guidelines on completing the consultation survey.
If you can do nothing else, at least sign the petition.
For some great pictures and commentary see Transpontine's marvellous report plus more photos (and thoughts) from Darren at 853blog. Student journalists at East London Lines reported live (and shakily confused) from the demonstration but they now have a great report with video.