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Newspaper petition hailed as one of biggest of all time

A regional daily’s petition to save a childrens’ cardiac care unit has been hailed as one of the biggest of all time by the Newspaper Society.

The Southern Daily Echo took its ‘Have a Heart’ campaign to Downing Street yesterday to present a 233,000 signature petition to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Newsquest-owned title also produced a special Downing Street edition, including a letter to Mr Cameron from editor Ian Murray, which was also handed in to the PM.

It launched lanched its campaign after the unit was put under threat when health bosses launched a national review of the specialist centres which could see 11 units nationally cut to six or seven and the Southampton centre, currently the second best in the country, closed.

Lynne Anderson, Newspaper Society communications director, said: “The  Southern Daily Echo’s campaign to save the local children’s cardiac care unit is a truly outstanding example of the regional press doing what it does best – campaigning on the issues that matter to its readers and giving them a powerful voice.

“Securing 225,000 signatures is a remarkable effort and one of the largest numbers we are aware of in  recent years for a regional press petition.”

Daily Echo news editor Gordon Sutter added:  “This shows the power of the regional press and is exactly the kind of thing we should be doing – fighting for an extremely worthwhile cause that is close to the heart of the community.

“Now we just hope that the Prime Minister listens to the people of the south by intervening and making sure the unit is saved.”

The petition was handed in to Downing Street by Daily Echo Health reporter Melanie Adams along with campaigners, hospital bosses and a number of the south’s MPs.

The four-month consultation by the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts into children’s heart units closes on July 1.


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  • June 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I’ve just looked at the latest readership figures for the Southern Daily Echo. Pity so few of those who sign the petition actually buy the newspaper.

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  • June 23, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I believe the Yorkshire Evening Post’s campaign on the same subject has attracted more than 500,000 signatures and was also presented at 10 Downing Street this week. Not sure the Newspaper Society has praised the YEP yet though!

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  • June 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Actually Ian, the Leeds campaign is not run by the YEP but rather a PR firm employed by a charity as far as I know. The Post just writes stories on it rather than organising or running it.

    The SDE’s appears to have just been done by their health reporter on her own, which certainly deserves recognition and praise.

    A fantastic achievement!

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