Monday, 20 September 2021

Video: Thousands march for Townlands

More than 2,500 people marched in protest of plans to cut beds at the new Townlands hospital.

More than 2,500 people marched in protest of plans to cut beds at the new Townlands hospital.

Click here to watch our video report of the demonstration.

Protestors took to the streets this morning (Saturday) in a show of strength against plans by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to cut the number of beds at the hospital from 18 to five.

They set off from Market Place at 10am and walked down Bell Street, New Street, Thames Side and Hart Street before returning to the town hall for speeches.

People held banners and placards bearing the logo of the Henley Standard's Save Our Beds campaign, while there were chants of "save our beds!" throughout the march.

The turnout was so big that mayor Lorraine Hillier had to delay her speech after reaching the town hall because some protestors were still at the other end of Hart Street.

Councillor Hillier told the crowds: "I'm very pleased to see such a good turnout but not surprised because there's such a depth of feeling in the town.

"Thank you for all your support today and we need your continued support to deliver the hospital we were promised."

There were cheers and applause as Cllr Hillier thanked the Henley Standard for "keeping it on the front page". There were also speeches from Ian Reissmann, chairman of the Townlands Steering Group, county councillor David Nimmo Smith, retired Henley GP Peter Ashby and Henley MP John Howell.

As Mr Howell finished his speech there were shouts of "what are you going to do John?" and "stand up and be counted!"

Mr Howell promised to hold a meeting with the clinical commissioning group and county MPs, as well as publishing a letter he was sent by the group this week. Cllr Reissmann pledged to "leave no stone unturned and no weapon unused" in the fight to keep the beds.

He said: "They (the clinical commissioning group) need to understand this: this is our hospital, our NHS and they work for us.

"We not only use the services, we pay for the services and we pay their salaries. We deserve to be treated with respect."

For a full report and pictures of the march pick up a copy of next week's Henley Standard.

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