Dozens of people gathered for a candle-lit vigil in support of Accrington under threat Victoria Hospital's walk-in centre.

Residents and campaigners held candles and placards outside the centre and were supported by Hyndburn MP Graham Jones and local councillors.

It comes after more than 5,000 people have so far signed a petition and 850 people responded to the East Lancashire's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) questionnaire about the future of the service.

The centre contract is set to expire in less than 12 months and is currently being reviewed following a £1.4m overspend last year.

Mr Jones said there is a 'strong community voice' calling to spare the centre from the axe.

He said: “It was a very well organised candlelit vigil against the proposed closure of the centre which was used by more than 33,000 people in Hyndburn last year.

“There were about 60 people there and it sends out a clear message to the CCG that this is a valuable service that shouldn't be lost

“I was campaigning in the afternoon in the town centre and it was evident that people are all aware of this service and don't want to see it close.

“Closing the centre would put further pressure on A&E services in the area.”

Representatives of the CCG will attend an extraordinary council meeting at Accrington Town Hall on Thursday, November 14 at 7pm to discuss the centres future.

A report prepared for the meeting by the CCG said the walk-in centre cost £2.2m to run over the past 12 months and they need to find £33m in savings over the next three years.

A recent engagement exercise with local people revealed their top priorities were being able to see their own GP, doing so without an appointment and having a wider range of appointments.

Options put forward by the CCG over the future of the centre include full closure, keeping it fully open, putting the service out to tender or restricting the opening times and access.

A final decision is expected to be made on Monday, November 25.

CCG Chairman Dr Di van Ruitenbeek said all options would be carefully considered and local views would be taken into account.

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