Former BEATLE Sir Paul McCartney is backing a new campaign to stop his local hospital from being downgraded. The UK Government plans to cut back vital services to the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards On Sea, East Sussex, close to MCCartney's country estate. The hospital is a cause close to the rocker's heart - his son JAMES was airlifted there in 1995 after crashing a Land Rover on the grounds of their Sussex farm. The singer subsequently donated a large sum of money to the hospital for the foundation of a cancer unit in his name. MCCartney is throwing his weight behind the campaign, launched by local residents, 37,000 of whom have signed petitions. In a statement, the 64-year-old says, "Any cutback in medical services for this and any other region is a real shame. "These are services for the people of the area and I for one support the efforts of the people who are trying to make sure that these closures don't happen."