Save Our NHS – Southend; In the Carnival!

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!

Save Our NHS carnival participants.
Save Our NHS Southend – Southend Carnival 2017 participants. © Gaz de Vere – All Rights Reserved.

We were blessed with fine weather, though the stiff breeze made carrying banners and placards a little harder, it kept our flags flying.

At the start of the carnival procession.
At the start of the carnival procession. © Gaz de Vere – All Rights Reserved.

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!

Save Our NHS - Southend committee members - Clare Fletcher, Mike Fieldhouse, Kate Sheehan (l to r) preparing our float.
Save Our NHS – Southend committee members – Clare Fletcher, Mike Fieldhouse, Kate Sheehan (l to r) preparing our float. © Gaz de Vere – All Rights Reserved.
En route along Southend's  seafront.
En route along Southend’s seafront. © Gaz de Vere – All Rights Reserved.
Our float, lit-up, as we near the end of the procession by the Arches in Westcliff.
Our float, lit-up, as we near the end of the procession by the Arches in Westcliff. © Gaz de Vere – All Rights Reserved.

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