MORE than 1,000 people have signed up to help save the Romsey bus link service to Winchester railway station.

Protesters have been collecting signatures against the axing of the service to present to South West Trains bosses who plan to end the bus link in December.

Posters and leaflets have flooded the town in the first week of the campaign and organisers are also collecting scores of names giving their support on the Save Our Bus website.

Leading campaigner Matt O'Connor, who founded the high profile Fathers 4 Justice campaign, said more than 200 people signed up to save the Monday to Saturday bus route on the first day of campaigning in Romsey and that waving placards and handing out leaflets was just the beginning.

"We will up the ante with protests that are designed to surprise and inspire, until we win a sensible period of time from South West Trains so we can be consulted and also put counter proposals to them."

So far more than 1,000 people have now joined the protest including local councillors who say people need the regular service.

As part of the campaign's next step a group of passengers are planning to board the rail link service at Romsey bus station on November 9 dressed as Father Christmas. They will then travel to Winchester train station to inform commuters of the proposals to axe the service.

Concerns have been raised on the affect the axing of the service will have in rural communities in Ampfield, Hursley and Woodley who regularly use the bus route to travel to both Romsey and Winchester.

Campaigners have also criticised transport bosses for putting more traffic on the roads and adding to congestion in Winchester city centre which was recently voted the worst polluter by environmental charity WWF.

A public meeting on November 1, that was planned for Romsey Town Hall, will be held at the nearby Abbey United Reformed Church from 8pm.

Scores of campaigners and residents are expected to attend alongside councillors and Romsey MP Sandra Gidley to question South West Train chiefs over the decision to axe the service.

A spokesperson for the train company said the bus service is being axed due to low passenger numbers and that residents will be able to use existing bus services to travel between the two locations.