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Protesters lined the TransCanada Highway today from Boston Bar to Spences Bridge to protest the closure of St. Bartholomews Hospital in Lytton.

The highway protest, with placards and First Nations drummers and dancers is just the first of many events on this day that will mark the passing of the 109-year-old facility. At 3:30 people will gather at the local high school to begin a funeral procession to the hospital grounds, where they will hold a memorial service at 4:00 p.m.

Spokeswoman Jessoa Lightfoot says “We feel very deeply about the closing of St. Bartholomew’s. That is why we are saying ’good-bye’ with a funeral.”

When HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt joined the protestors he noted it was plain to see that the community of Lytton doesn’t want to say good-bye to this old friend they have depended on for more than a century.

“This is just one more example of a community that is stressed and sad, but they are sending Gordon Campbell a message,” he says. “They don’t want their community to be without a place where they can go to be cared for if they are sick or injured.”

Lightfoot says that the health authority promised they would at least have another health centre in place before St. Bart’s was closed. “But that hasn’t happened,” she says. “They tell us we can go somewhere else if there is an emergency, or that our elders can move far away from their families if they need care.

“We just don’t want to accept that.”