LEWISHAM pensioners organised a trolley protest march against the downgrade of Lewisham Hospital's A&E department last week.

Around 45 people took part, marching from the high street's Savile Centre to the facility itself alongside members of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander.

The Lewisham Pensioners Forum had organised the event after being contacted by older people in the borough who felt unable to take part in the longer marches earlier this year.

Doris Smith from the group said: "There's a tremendous amount of feeling amongst older people. A lot of us were born and still live in Lewisham and to see hospitals disappearing when the area's population is growing is very worrying.

"Unless we make a lot of noise and make our voices heard, no way will we be able to save the hospital."

Mrs Smith who gave birth to twins at the hospital and credits staff with saving both her and her husband's life in recent times, said older people were particularly concerned about journey times to Queen Elizabeth Hospital if the changes go through.

She said: "If you haven't got transport yourself you'll need to get two buses there. That's going to be very difficult for an older person not to mention families with young children."

Under the plans, approved by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year, Lewisham would see its A&E and maternity services downgraded.

Mrs Smith said: "Where is Jeremy Hunt coming from? Lewisham people haven't been listened to at all and he's got to think again - this is the only hospital we've got. It will be a case of life or death."

The plans are currently on hold - with all services at Lewisham still open - while the council pursues a legal challenge.

To donate to Lewisham Council's legal challenge fund, visit lewisham.gov.uk