Family members took on a Parisian theme to mark the loss of loved ones as well as their “sacred” community landmark.

On the 14th anniversary of her mother’s death, Eleanor Tatler-Hemming, of Flint, decided to remember the day in a different way to placing flowers on her late mother’s grave.

Eleanor visited the former Community Hospital, Old London Road, Flint, to place a padlock on the gate of the now disused building that was once a “vital part of the community”.

Eleanor said: “I thought it would be a nice thing to try and recreate the bridge in Paris where visitors put padlocks on the railings to lock their loves in. When they put the lock on they throw the key away and their love is locked in forever.”

Other Flint residents also adorned the gates of the former hospital with padlocks in memory of their own relatives.

Their poignant gesture was also a silent appeal to “nudge” officials into re-thinking their decision to shut the hospital.

Eleanor said: “I always do something but I thought, some way or another, we should do something as a community to remember our much-loved building.

“The hospital is a sacred building to the people of Flint which was shut down because of cutbacks from the health board. There have been big protests in the past to try and keep it open becuse it was such a big part of the community.”

Valerie Shaw is another Flint resident who is hoping the hospital will re-open. She placed her padlock on the site gates and said she will “put her key in the bin” so her “love for the building” can never be removed.

Mrs Shaw said: “If it re-opened, it would mean so much to us. The marches, which happened four years ago, were a community effort to keep it open.

“But we’re still waiting to see what will happen to it. We just don’t know. The health board haven’t told us.”

The Hospital Campaign Group have been having “frequent talks” with health board officials about the unused site.

Valerie said: “We’ve been having talks for ages, but we’ve never actually been told anything.”

Eleanor added that the padlocks represent their love for the hospital and “all the memories inside” of dozens of loved ones who were once patients, and who had died inside the hospital walls.

She said: “It was a real part of the community which has been completely ripped away with nothing in its place. The patients knew all the staff, and it wasn’t like a big hospital, it was a community because all the patients knew each other. It was a big friendly meeting place.”

For Valerie Nevitt this particular site reflects a national issue.

She said: “There was everything available in that hospital; surgeries, minor injuries, blood tests, doctors.

“Surely it’s easier for one doctor to come with a couple of nurses to one location rather than 40 people trying to travel far. Holywell Hospital only have one bed reserved for Flint patients, and Deeside Hospital only have one. How is this fair?

“Flint is a huge area and they keep building more houses without putting anything in place for more people.”

Eleanor added: “It’s more than just the building; it’s the memories. These padlocks represent that although the building is there, it’s shut off. We can’t go in.”

Geoff Lang, director of strategy at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “We are working with the community to ensure that we have the right services available to meet the health needs of the residents of Flint.

“This includes the development of the Flint Health Centre which will bring in brand new services to the area such as audiology, heart failure and advanced physiotherapy services.

“There are currently no plans in place for the former Flint Community Hospital site.”