MORE than 700 people have now pledged to take part in a protest walk which has been set up to show the strength of feeling over the demise of Hartlepool’s hospital.
Sue Little has arranged a walk from Seaton Carew bus station to the University Hospital of Hartlepool on Saturday, and has been delighted with the number of people who have said they will take part.
Sue, 41, from Seaton Carew, has been angered by a stance from the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust that services will not be brought back to Holdforth Road, and hopes her protest will be another way of making them sit up and take notice.
Organisers say people can gather at Seaton Carew bus station at 11am on Saturday.
Sue set up a page on Facebook outlining her plans, and more than 700 people have said they will turn up to show their support.
A meeting is being held on Wednesday where stewards will be given positions to marshal the route, and police will also be in attendance for safety reasons.
Sue, who is married to Paul and runs Paul’s Travel bus firm, said: “Everything is pretty much sorted now, I’m actually quite excited by it all.
“The feedback has been fantastic, and to get more than 700 people saying they will do it is excellent.
“I’m expecting the walk to take about an hour and a half, and the only advice I can really give to people is to wrap up warm and it may be worth bringing some waterproofs as the forecast is for rain.
“I want people to enjoy it. It’s a show of support, the biggest forum this town has got is our streets.
“People don’t need to walk all of the way, they can join us at any point along the route.
“I’m hoping people will give us a clap, or a toot from their cars as they pass us, just to give us that bit of encouragement.”
Sue has been in touch with the organisers of similar walks from across the country to pick up some tips and ensure everything passes without a hitch.
The walk starts at Seaton bus station at 11am, and will follow a route along the seafront, up through the marina area towards Asda then along Lancaster Road, and up Powlett Road to the rear of the hospital.
Sue, who is mum to Ben, 22, 19-year-old Thomas and Joseph, 16, added: “The plan is to walk to the back of the hospital.
“I don’t want to have a group of over 700 people at the main entrance because while we know the hospital isn’t as busy as it used to be, there will still be people around the main entrance who have been in visiting sick relatives or who may have had bad news or whatever, so out of respect to them we don’t want to cause them any disruption.
“People can bring their dogs, put their kids in their buggies, anything they want to show they are supporting what we are trying to do.”
The Mail’s Bring Them Back petition has now had more than 12,000 signatures, which will be handed to bosses from North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and NHS England.
l To add your name to the campaign, long onto www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk or call into our reception in Wesley Square between 10am-2pm.