Supporter rally to save Coraki Hospital
By BREE PRICE
AS WORD rippled through the crowd that Chris Crawford had arrived before the start of a protest on the steps of the Campbell Hospital Coraki Conference Centre yesterday, Chesne Olive couldn't just stand there.
With cardboard placard in hand, she marched into the room where the chief executive of the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) was preparing to discuss the proposed closure with the advisory committee for the first time.
Mrs Olive was determined Mr Crawford would see and hear the 150 protesters who had gathered to object to the proposed closure of the hospital.
"Save our hospital, save our lives," she shouted.
The crowd followed her and spilled into the conference room, drowning out any sound with their chanting.
"I was born and bred in Coraki and I'm passionate about it," said Mrs Olive, a teacher at Coraki Primary School.
"Coraki's our life blood and everything we have in Coraki is going to be taken away from us. It's very upsetting.
"My four sisters and I were all born here and all our kids were born here.
"My uncle who had brain damage was looked after by the hospital for the 40-odd years he's been alive.
"And my sister was in a horrific car accident and was in the rehab centre here for two years. We couldn't have looked after her without Coraki Hospital."
The protest, organised by the Save Coraki and District Campbell Hospital Committee, began in the form of a guard of honour.
Committee chairman Ray Jeffery said it was staged to draw attention to the desire of the community to have the hospital remain open and not be downgraded to a GP-run health clinic.
"If we can exert pressure (on the committee) from outside, they've got to know there's a need for the hospital here," he said.