TRADE unions have shown their love for Darlington with a protest against council cuts in the town.

Darlington Against Cuts and the Darlington Trades Union Council urged shoppers and residents to join their campaign during a day of action on Saturday.

The event, on the theme We Love Darlington, was headed by members of Unison as well as GMB, with representatives from other unions. The three-hour protest was held in Joseph Pease Place, in the town centre.

Bob Wood, a Unison spokesman, said: "This is our chance to show people that we love the council services and that we love Darlington."If we don't show we love Darlington and protest against the cuts, the services will be gone and there will be nothing left.

"We think there is a lot of denial among our councillors that the cuts will be made and the services will still be there.

"You cannot make these cuts and expect the same level of service."

Protestors handed out leaflets to residents, asked them to sign their Million Voices campaign and urged them to consult with ward councillors.

Mr Wood added: "What we would really like residents to do is to go to ward surgeries and ask their councillors what is going to happen to their services and what cuts we are going to face.

"It is the public who will lose their services. Local government is being hit harder than any other public sector."

Michael Middleton, from Darlington, was one member of the public to speak to the campaigners. He said: "I don't think the public what is going on yet. They are going to cut our services and it will effect everybody but we don't realise how much yet."

Members of Darlington for Culture also joined the efforts to explain their vision for Darlington Arts Centre and culture provision in the town.

Paul Harman, who formed the group, said: "We are quietly confident we have helped to influence the council to change its mind and give us a stay of execution for a year."

A number of councillors and Darlington MP Jenny Chapman were among those to show their support to the unions.

Darlington Borough Council is planning to cut its budget by £20m, with the loss of a range of services and 360 jobs.

Unions plan on continuing its opposition ahead of the council's cabinet meeting on February 22.