A crusade aimed at evoking memories of the famous Jarrow March arrives in the town next weekend.
The People’s March for the NHS is a campaign dedicated to preserving the founding principles of the NHS and ensuring its staff are afforded the treatment they deserve.
The march – which deliberately echoes the Jarrow Crusade for jobs in 1936 – has already called in at Tredgar in Wales and Bristol.
On Saturday, March 28, marchers will gather in Jarrow.
The alliance has organised an event to highlight a last-ditch plan to save the under-threat Jarrow Walk-In Centre from closure.
Merv Butler, chairman of the Alliance, called on the public to turn out at 11am to hear a host of speeches from, among others, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.
He said: “It is vitally important that we prevent the closure of the facility. The event will focus on the need to keep it open and we want as many people there as possible to show their support.”
It seems clear that the outcome of the General Election will determine the centre’s fate. Labour has pledged to keep it open if elected.
The Conservatives are putting the decision in the hands of an independent adjudicator.
Mr Butler, branch secretary of Unison South Tyneside, added: “Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has given his party’s assurance that it will be saved.”
Source – Shields Gazette, 21 Mar 2015
Health campaigners will retrace the steps of the original Jarrow Marchers as part of their fight to protect the NHS.
Several hundred people are expected to take part in a mass rally outside Jarrow Town Hall on Saturday, August 16, before a group of NHS campaigners head off on the 300-mile march to London.
Evoking memories of the famous 1936 Jarrow Crusade, when 200 jobless men marched from the town to Westminster to demand work, the event is billed as The People’s March for the NHS, with health protesters aiming to cover up to 16 miles a day, reaching the capital on September 6.
The 999 Call for the NHS campaign has already won the support of various organisations, including the TUC.
> That’s ironic… with the original Jarrow Crusade, the TUC of the day circularised Trades Councils advising them not to help the marchers. The Labour party also opposed it. And probably still would today.
Beth Farhat, regional secretary of the Northern TUC, said: “This march is being organized by a group of mums in Darlington, emulating the Jarrow March, but in aid of saving our NHS.
“They have gained support from many organisations up and down the country, including trade unions.”
Rehana Azam, one of the rally organisers, said campaigners are opposed to many of the changes to the NHS introduced by the Social Care Act 2012.
She said: “We are opposed to what we see as the sell-off of the NHS by this Government,
“We aim to raise awareness about the issues and hope the rally in Jarrow will attract major media coverage.
> Given the recent media lack of enthusiasm about rallies of 50,000 people in London, perhaps best not to expect to much…
“There should be several hundred people massing outside Jarrow Town Hall on August 16, before the march sets off for London.
“We will be campaigning on the NHS and also against things like the bedroom tax.
“The plan is to have support from people like the Mayor of South Tyneside and there should be key NHS workers and trade unionists involved in the rally.
“About 1,500 have registered to take part in the march along the route, with about 50 people marching all the way.”
For more details, log on to www.999callfornhs.org.uk
> For the record, when the original Jarrow Crusade reached London, the Prime Minister of the day, Stanley Baldwin, refused to see any of the marchers’ representatives, claiming it would set a dangerous precedent.
Source – Shields Gazette, 26 June 2014