May 18 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Thousands of people joined a two-mile march to the Whittington Hospital today in protest at plans to sell off almost half the site.
Marching among the crowds were a host of well-known faces, including Only Fools and Horses star Roger Lloyd-Pack and award-winning comedian Victoria Wood.
The march set off from just outside Highbury and Islington Tube station at midday, proceeding up Holloway Road towards Archway and ending at the hospital in Magdala Avenue at around 1.15pm.
Speaking from Temptations café in Highbury Corner, alongside his wife Jehane ahead of the march, Mr Lloyd-Pack said marching was “part of my DNA”.
The 69-year-old actor, who lives in Kentish Town, said: “I believe in marches – I believe it’s one of the best ways of showing our opposition.
“I am particularly fearful of what the government is doing to the NHS. It’s about making profits in order to line shareholders’ pockets.”
Ms Wood, 59, who lives in Highgate, said she had joined the march to support her local hospital and the NHS as a whole.
“I’ve been in A&E at the Whittington and always had great treatment, as have my two children,” she said.
“It’s been my local hospital for 20 years and I think the sell-off is depressing. I think we need to protect things like the NHS.”
Young and old braved the difficult weather conditions to show their support for the Whittington, with parents pushing prams marching shoulder to shoulder with pensioners.
Ann Barry, 70, of Great North Road, East Finchley, marched along Holloway Road with her family.
She said: “I was in the Whittington three years ago for a knee replacement. I thought it was a wonderful place, they really cared for me.
“It’s a tragedy if the community is going to lose half of it.”