“Save our hospital services” said the protesters parading through Dartmouth Regatta this week.

A protest march interrupted Regatta celebrations this year to highlight the need for better healthcare services in the town.

The Women of Dartmouth and District group organised a campaign protest against the closure of Dartmouth and Kingswear Hospital and the privatisation of the NHS.

A lead protester spoke to the crowd at Royal Avenue Gardens and said: “Dartmouth Hospital has disappeared…the town wants its hospital services back.

“If you’re visiting the town or you’re a resident in the town, you need hospital services here in Dartmouth.

“We want our hospital services back now. Not in five years time. Not in ten years time. Back now and continuously for the future.”

This was met with applause form crowds enjoying the Regatta. The protest then continued through Regatta stalls towards the former cottage hospital site where Save Our Hospital Services(SOHS) had a stall and was gathering donations and signatures on a 7500 strong petition against the closure of community hospitals in south Devon.

SOHS calls on South Devon and Torbay MPs to speak out in defence of hospital services and to support the NHS as a publicly owned and provided service, free at the point of delivery and fully funded.

Marching to the hospital, the protesters chanted: “What do we want? Dartmouth Hospital. When do we want it? Now.”

The protest started at the Community Centre in Townstal and headed down to College Way, along the Embankment, through Royal Avenue Gardens and down to the hospital.

Around 30 protesters marched through Dartmouth chanting their message and increasing awareness of their cause.

People were receptive of the cause and many clapped the protesters during the campaign march.

It took place on Wednesday, August 29, prior to the opening ceremony of the Port of Dartmouth Royal Regatta.