Campaigner who has fought for years to save threatened Harborough district hospital says, 'we're almost there'

A thrilled veteran campaigner who has fought for years to save a threatened Harborough district cottage hospital has declared – we’re almost there.

By Red Williams
Thursday, 14th July 2022, 5:39 pm
File image.
File image.

Mary Guppy, 79, is confident that the community-wide battle to rescue Feilding Palmer Hospital in Lutterworth is set to succeed against all the odds.

She is lining up a hard-fought victory in her sights after battling for over six years to drag the 123-year-old hospital back from the brink.

“There is no doubt that our priceless hospital was in serious danger of being closed down altogether back in 2016.

“We were facing the end game,” said Mary, of South Kilworth.

“Along with other extremely shocked local people I decided there and then that this had to be stopped.

“We’ve had to go into battle time and again since then as we’ve campaigned round the clock to keep our hospital open.

“We’ve had tremendous support from people like Harborough district councillor Phil Knowles and South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa along the way.

“I’ve also got to say that regional health chief Andy Williams has been very responsive and has listened to all the arguments and the very solid case that we’ve made,” said indomitable Mary, who was born at the Victorian hospital in 1943.

“Hopefully now this is mission accomplished.

“We were hoping to secure beds at the hospital as well.

“Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen because we’ve been told that there are not enough NHS staff.

“But it’s absolutely critical that we do keep Feilding Palmer Hospital open.

“The population in Lutterworth and the surrounding villages is growing fast day by day.

“And we have more and more elderly people living in this area too,” said Mary.

“Why should they be forced to have to travel to hospitals in Leicester, Coventry or Rugby for care when they can receive it right here in Lutterworth?

“Over 2,000 people have signed a petition to save the hospital and more than 1,100 residents took part in a survey earlier this year to support our quest.

“Thousands of local people here have stood with us every step of the way over the last few years – and we couldn’t have done this without them.”