We have lift off! Campaign to save Horton maternity soars to new high

Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury with Wayne Monks, Christine Bell and daughter Annabel NNL-160208-190159001

Victoria Prentis, MP for Banbury with Wayne Monks, Christine Bell and daughter Annabel NNL-160208-190159001

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The campaign to stop the Horton General Hospital’s main maternity function being moved to Oxford has sky-rocketed.

Hundreds from all over Banburyshire turned out to a second demonstration outside the Hightown Road maternity unit on the evening of July 30, after an open invitation from MP Victoria Prentis and Keep The Horton General (KTHG).

At the same time the Save Our Horton Facebook page membership more than doubled to 11,000.

Concerned and angry mums flooded the page with hundreds of accounts of deliveries where either baby or mother would have died if the Horton’s local consultant-led unit had not been open, meaning a dash to Oxford.

Saturday’s protest saw a choir of Horton-born children singing a One Direction hit, History, rewritten by a midwife as a campaign song to express universal anger at plans to leave Banbury without specialist maternity care.

The event is on YouTube and the song is to be formally recorded and released. KTHG spokesman Val Ingram said: “MP Victoria Prentis was expecting a small group of mothers but found a crowd of hundreds.

“She pledged she would take up the cudgel and cast doubts on some of the information the Oxford University Hospitals Trust had given out about filling the vacancies for obstetricians – the reason they are giving for taking the service to Oxford.

“A huge contingent of children, mums and expectant mums joined in a rousing chorus of the adapted Horton maternity song.”

KTHG is producing a new campaign T-shirt and has teamed up with Banbury Town Council to set up a stall at Banbury market on Saturday.

The group has set up a petition which shoppers and visitors will be able to sign.

Importantly, a ‘crowd-funding’ Just Giving page has been set up to raise funds for what KTHG says is becoming the biggest and fastest-growing campaign Banbury has ever seen.

To donate towards leaflets, banners, advertising and legal costs go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Savourhorton

Mrs Ingram added: “It is promising to see all parties of all local councils uniting in the common cause. Oxfordshire county council has joined the town and district councils in pledging support for the Horton retaining its services.”

See https://www.facebook.com/groups/7187646388/