FIFTY campaigners making a 300-mile trek to save the National Health Service are receiving a warm Yorkshire welcome in the county’s towns and cities as they head south.
After a gruelling 20 mile trek from Northallerton to Ripon on Wednesday, they marched from Ripon to Harrogate, a 14-mile walk, yesterday and they expressed delight at coverage of the protest in the Morning Star.
The People’s March for the NHS set off from Jarrow in the north-east on Saturday and is following the route of the historic 1936 Jarrow crusade for jobs.
The campaigners’ destination is Parliament, to protest at the privatisation and destruction of the NHS.
Along the route thousands of trade unionists, campaigners and supporters are joining them for sections of the march, which is the brainchild of the “Darlomums,” a group of mothers from Darlington.
GMB national officer Rehana Azam told the Star: “It is going brilliantly. The message we are picking up is that people are very nervous about what is happening to the NHS.
“Our pit stops are people’s houses, which is humbling and welcoming. It demonstrates that people are uniting behind the NHS.”
In every overnight destination local supporters ensure the marchers’ stay goes smoothly.
In Ripon, volunteer Elizabeth Barclay co-ordinated the stay. “We collected £100 for the marchers in four hours,” she said.
Among the marchers was Fiona Dent from Windsor, where she is Labour’s Parliamentary candidate.
She explained how she was motivated to fight against NHS privatisation after seeing a friend forced to pay for a double cataract operation because the NHS did not have the capacity.
“I want to stop privatisation of the NHS,” she said. “It is disgusting.”
Pensioner Joanne Sanderson travelled from London to join the epic trek against privatisation.
“I fear for my old age, which I am approaching,” she explained.
“In the United States there are 60 million people who cannot afford medical treatment.
“The privateers here will only pick up the quick, profitable cases.”