CAMPAIGNERS have taken their "Save Bury Hospice" fight to Downing Street.

Supporters travelled to London with Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Bury North, James Frith, to hand in the 7,000-signature petition to the Prime Minister's office.

Joining Mr Frith, who launched the campaign last year, were Bury Hospice nurse Anne Riley, Precious and Melody Neal — family of a current hospice patient — and Mel Banks, whose partner was a patient at the hospice.

Mr Frith said he started the campaign because of what he termed the Government's "vast underfunding" of NHS Bury which he claims is restricting the future of Bury Hospice.

The campaign's five main objectives embrace a "fair deal" for NHS Bury, new governance, a public fundraising plan, the allocation of 50 per cent of the hospice's building capacity to provide a wider range of care, and NHS contracts to ensure a three-year funding commitment.

Hospice nurse Anne Riley, who attended the petition handover in a personal capacity, said: “The outpouring of support for James’ Save Bury Hospice campaign shows how well loved the hospice is by the people of Bury. We all care about its future and want to see it grow from strength to strength.”

Alan Neal, married to wife Precious and father to their daughter Melody, suffers from Motor Neurone Disease and is a recent patient at Bury Hospice.

Precious said: "The care Alan has received is excellent. We want more families to have the chance to access the great care on offer at our hospice. We must make sure it's there for future generations and their loved ones. "

Mel Banks, whose late partner Jayson was a patient at the hospice, said: "I am so grateful to James and all those who have supported the Save Bury Hospice campaign so far. The hospice holds a special place in my heart and we mustn’t let it decline or close because it isn’t receiving proper funding or support."

Mr Frith, who organised the Downing Street visit, said: "Anne, Precious, Melody and Mel’s stories, and many others in Bury like them, are why we have to fight for a hospice that outlives us all. We need a hospice that’s operating at full capacity and is a leading light in hospice and NHS care in Bury.

"Everyone in our town has a stake in our most cherished resource. We’ll not give up on our demands for a fair deal for NHS Bury and we’ll fight to save the hospice until it is saved.”