Police expect up to 6,000 Campaigners at Bridlington Hospital March Saturday 26th July 08

Humberside Police are bracing themselves for what is expected to be one of the biggest public protests staged in the East Riding.

Officers have confirmed they are now expecting up to 6,000 people to attend a march on Saturday against proposed cuts in services at the town's hospital.

They believe the policing of the protest could be compounded by the fact it's the first weekend of the school summer holidays, which traditionally attracts thousands of visitors to the seaside resort.

Inspector Steve Jackson said: “During a similar march last October, there were 3,000 people, but this time we are expecting up to 6,000.

“When we had 3,000 that made quite a big impact, so 6,000 will be quite something if everyone turns up.

“It will be the largest gathering of people we've had in Bridlington that I'm aware of and there are very few things in the East Riding that have been near this size.”

Save Bridlington Hospital is organising the march and Mick Pilling feels the strength of feeling will be reflected in the turn out.

Campaigners are now focusing on saving cardiac services at the hospital having conceded defeat over plans to close the maternity ward.

Mr Pilling said: “We have handed out 30,000 leaflets and the event has been publicised very well.

“It is now crunch time and, with the closure of the maternity ward, feelings are running high.

“People are disgusted at the way the hospital has been run. It has never had any investment and is dead on its feet.”

The march will begin at 10am on Saturday at the Business Centre in Bessingby Way and make its way to the hospital.