A MUM-OF TWO who ‘would not be here’ without the NHS is leading campaigners in celebrating the service’s 69th birthday later this week.

Samantha Wathen, 35, of North Swindon, will lead the campaigning 'birthday party' at the gates of the Great Western Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The event, which has been organised by the Swindon branch of Keep Our NHS Public, is one of a string of ‘birthday’ celebrations across the country overseen by the Trades Union Congress and other groups.

Samantha, a former teacher, established the Swindon branch of Keep Our NHS Public, earlier this year.

“The idea of community healthcare was formed here – the idea of workers getting together came from Swindon,” she said. “We should be justly proud of it.”

The mum-of-two and former teacher began campaigning on the NHS after her own experiences of ‘amazing’ care after complications following the births of her two children.

Her second daughter was born premature at the Great Western Hospital. “The medical staff were just amazing with myself and the baby,” she said.

“I wouldn’t be here without the NHS.”

As well as bringing NHS ‘cupcakes’ and balloons to the event, members of Keep Our NHS Public will unveil a huge laminated ‘birthday card’ - containing a number of campaign demands.

The group are calling for ‘fair pay’ for NHS staff, demanding an end to cuts or ‘cash-driven closures’ of services, and asking for a ‘fully-funded, publicly owned and provided National Health Service’.

Keep Our NHS Public will meet outside the Marlborough Road entrance to the Great Western Hospital at 5pm on Wednesday, July 5.