CORONATION Street actor Bill Tarmey is backing a new North West TUC campaign to protect and promote public services.
‘Proud to serve the public’ has been launched in the run-up to the General Election as public services are threatened by massive spending cuts in the wake of the recession.
Bill, who played Coronation Street’s lovable Jack Duckworth for 30 years, has singled out National Health Service staff as amongst those public servants who are deserving of extra special praise.
He said: “I owe my life to the National Health Service.
“When I was 35 I had a heart attack on stage in Hale. My mate rushed me to Wythenshawe Hospital and they brought me round.
“Everybody was worried sick, except me as I wasn’t conscious!
I have had two separate heart by-pass operations and am eternally indebted to a Lebanese heart specialist called Henri Moussali and the nursing staff at Wythenshawe for their efforts.
“Mr Moussali has sadly since died of canc
er, but I am still here against all the odds thanks to him and the staff. I owe a huge debt to sister Bernie and all her girls who looked after me.
“They also looked after my wife, Ali, and the rest of my family when they have been needed. I can’t praise the NHS staff enough for their kindness, expertise and dedication.”
The ‘Proud to serve the public’ campaign will highlight the contribution made by public services and public servants – including those who often get little media attention – in improving the quality of life of people in the North West.
Plans are underway for campaign events and meetings, as well as using the internet and social networks to rally opposition to cuts.
North West TUC Regional Secretary Alan Manning said: “Public servants and the public services they provide did not cause this recession and should not pay the price for it.
“We have good quality public services here in the North West which people depend on and value. Massive spending cuts now would threaten the fragile recovery, increase unemployment and the benefits bill and harm the most vulnerable in our community.
“Public services are not a drain on the regional economy – instead they help boost growth and employment.
“Thousands of private businesses here in the North West also depend on the public sector for valuable work and contracts – if they are cut, the private sector and the whole economy suffers too.”
Campaign co-ordinator Tim Moore added:
“Public services are a huge asset to the North West, providing jobs and good quality services which people need and support. Some politicians and pundits now appear intent on devaluing and denigrating public service – rather than celebrating it as something we should all be proud of.
“The public depend each day on thousands of public servants who are unsung heroes and heroines – the life-saving treatment provided for Bill Tarmey by skilled staff, would not have been possible w
ithout the backroom staff at Wythenshawe Hospital.
“Throughout the forthcoming General Election campaign here in the North West, we shall be proudly speaking up for public service and public servants without whom we would all be worse off.”