SUPPORT is growing for campaigners fighting to keep children’s services at Dorset County Hospital ahead of a march this weekend.

The Bridport News is backing the march, which will take place in Dorchester on Saturday from 11am, starting at the Top O’Town car park.

The hospital’s Kingfisher Ward and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) are under threat from proposals being considered by Dorset’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of its review of local health services.

Symondsbury-based human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith is among those to show their support for the parents and other campaigners fighting to keep services in Dorchester.

He said: “It is sad that British politicians do not show more real support for the NHS.

“I spent 25 years in the US, where my wife and I each had to pay $5000 a year on health insurance that was mediocre, and far inferior to what we all enjoy from the NHS.

“The NHS provides the jewels in our country’s crown, and the Kingfisher ward is a pearl among the jewels.”

Mr Stafford Smith said that the daughter of a friend of his suffered cancer at a young age and the thought of them having to travel across the county for treatment would have ‘turned a nightmare far worse’.

He added: “Rather than vote for 10 per cent pay rises for themselves, our politicians should take the millions they could save and keep the ward open.”

Mr Stafford Smith was also among those supporting a petition-signing event in Bridport, co-ordinated by councillors Ros Kayes, Martin Ray and Maggie Ray as well as campaigner and mum Nicky Dear.

Along with Nicky, Naomi Patterson, Louisa Yates, and Emma Stoodley set up a Facebook page to protest the proposals and have received considerable support.

Nicky said: “If they keep going we will keep going and we will keep getting bigger.

“The CCG need to realise we are not going to go away because for us, as long as they continue to put forward their proposals we will continue to fight them all the way.”

Mum Caroline Pomfret has also backed the campaign and said without SCBU and Kingfisher Ward her son Oliver ‘would have died’.

Oliver, who turns two next month, suffers from rare genetic disorder maple syrup urine disease.

Oliver was born premature and placed in SCBU and then moved to Kingfisher at just 10 days old because he was very ill.

She said: “Oliver would have died without them. If you have to call an ambulance and wait for it, you have no idea how long you will be waiting.

“We have open access to Kingfisher, which he will need for the rest of his childhood.”

“I realise its difficult because (the CCG) have a job to do, but I urge them to reconsider it.”

The Dorset CCG says no decision has been made about the future of children’s services.