Healthcare workers, trade union members and campaigners from Sheffield demonstrated against NHS changes and austerity cuts when they joined one of the biggest protests ever seen in the north of England.
Around five coachloads of protesters set off from outside the Showroom cinema on Paternoster Row bound for Manchester, where around 50,000 people marched to coincide with the Conservative Party conference.
Disability campaigner Geraldine O’Connor said the event was ‘magnificent’.
“About 250 people went from Sheffield – it was a wonderful day,” she said. “There were lots of enthusiastic people singing songs, and people from various groups.”
The march passed through the city centre, ending with speeches in a park.
Greater Manchester Police said the event on Sunday was one of the largest protests it had ever policed, but only two arrests were made.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “Austerity is having a devastating effect on our communities and services.
“The NHS is one of Britain’s finest achievements and we will not allow ministers to destroy, through cuts and privatisation, what has taken generations to build.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said there was ‘absolutely no government policy to privatise NHS services.’