DEMONSTRATORS battling to save Harefield Hospital from closure overcame problems including police checks and missing ministers in order to hold a protest in London.
Despite delays, members of Heart of Harefield waved banners and chanted outside The Department of Health (DoH), in Whitehall and The Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.
The group is fighting plans to close the hospital, in Hill End Road, Harefield, and move its services to a new site in Paddington, London.
This was the latest in a series of demonstrations.
Members wore brightly-coloured costumes and some even climbed up on stilts to make their point, as they displayed banners such as ‘Harefield Forever Paddington Never’ and ‘Hands off Harefield’.
The protesters set off for central London from the village green, in Breakspear Road North, Harefield, at 9.15am.
But they were pulled over by police officers carrying out roadside checks on all large vehicles as the coaches reached Heston.
Heart of Harefield chairwoman Jean Brett said: “The police were very understanding and, despite keeping us for an hour, they made sure we got to the DoH on time and we want to thank them for their courtesy.”
The campaigners, including members of Re-Beat, a group for heart patients, hoped to present new health minister, Dr John Reid, with an umbrella, balloon and postcard, all bearing the Heart of Harefield logo. But the protesters were left disappointed after the DoH would not let
Dr Reid come out to see them. The group was joined by Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell (Lab), Uxbridge MP John Randall (Con) and West Hertfordshire MP Richard Page (Con) at the Houses of Parliament.
Mrs Brett said: “All three have given us such support over the years. Cars drove past honking their horns and tourists kept coming up to find out who we were and what we were doing.
“As we made our way back to the coaches, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, actually drove past us in his car and I really hope he saw our banners and got the message.
* Join the group’s weekly meetings at the Heart of Harefield campaign office in High Street, Harefield, at 7.30pm on Wednesdays.