What an absolutely fantastic day we had at Southend’s Carnival. A wonderful team of people helped plan and prepare the day, making flags, costumes and accessories, and 40 people took part in the carnival procession on Saturday.
We had a terrific reception from the crowds that lined the route – we’d made 1,000 flags to give out but they had all gone in the first half hour – we’ll bring 5,000 next year!
We were blessed with fine weather, though the stiff breeze made carrying banners and placards a little harder, it kept our flags flying.
When we put our entry in for this year’s carnival we weren’t to know that the Mid & South Essex Success Regime would, by now, have abandoned their proposals to downgrade our A&E department in Southend as well as Chelmsford’s, and cancelled plans to make Basildon a huge A&E dept. which would have meant it taking all emergency blue light ambulances from this massive area of Essex.
Since the U-turn by NHS managers, we decided to make our entry a celebration of our A&E dept’s reprieve and also a launch of Save Our NHS – Southend, a campaign to challenge any cuts, closures or privatisation of our NHS services and also to guard against any future plans to downgrade or adversely alter our A&E. We must remain vigilant.
I’d like to thank all the people who have come together to make this campaign such a success. It has shown what ‘people power’ can do; that OUR voices can be heard if we join together. It has been a humbling experience and a privilege to be part of this.
I expect there will be much more work to do in the future to defend our NHS – the health service our parents and grandparents paid for and the security I want to leave to my children, grandchildren and beyond.
But for today we will celebrate!