LOCKED-down residents have been called to arms by their town crier, urging them to “engage the battle” against Covid-19.

The war cry was issued to the people of Worthing by Bob Smytherman.

He urged them to stay home and “summon your weapons, your antibacterial shields”.

Streaming live on Facebook on Tuesday morning and dressed in his full regalia, Mr Smytherman addressed the residents of his beloved town.

It came as people across the country woke up to their first full day under the new restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday evening.


Mr Smytherman boomed over Facebook Lve: “All ye England engaged in battle against the Covid-19 virus, and that includes all citizens of the world.

“This is a war like no other fought before in our lifetime, or even in history.

“Summon your weapons, your antibacterial shields, your human concern.

“Engage the battle fully and pray for a winning outcome.

“Prepare to fight Covid-19 to its defeat in our world.”

The speech was written by one of Mr Smytherman’s counterparts in America and sent to town criers around the world.

In the video Mr Smytherman, 52, who is also a councillor for Worthing Borough Council and West Sussex County Council, called on everyone to join the fight and support NHS staff who are working so hard.

He said: “Your weapons are not the usual guns and knives but even more potent – home is your battlefield.

“Stay there, except for essential frontline visits. Do not engage with other people.

“Fight Covid-19 germs with soap and water.”

Mr Smytherman also praised the many workers still out battling the virus, saying: “Give thanks and pray gratitude to those fighting on the front line, and risking their health and lives so that you may live and in good health.

“These warriors include the medical workers, the pharmacy staff, the supply chain crew, from field to store, serving you with food and the special goods and services that sustain us in this crisis.”

He finished his speech with a simple and heartfelt: “God bless our frontline warriors against Covid-19 and God save the Queen.

Mr Smytherman said it was critical that people followed the new restrictions.

He said: “I think it’s just really, really important.

“I think with the Prime Minister’s clear statement from Downing Street yesterday, it’s absolutely clear that we have got to lock down.

“It’s just such a serious situation at the moment and we have got to stand together.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal.  Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund