AS THE coronavirus lockdown begins to ease, photographer Justine Desmond and writer Daisy O’Clee have captured a ‘socially distant snapshot’ of Brighton and Hove and some of its residents.

They visited Hove seafront where they met all kinds of people, from a new mother enjoying family life to a woman who was spoken to by police for sipping a glass of prosecco.

For the fully gallery of pictures, visit

The Argus:

Francesca Borisov, from Hove, has been spending a lot more time outside.

She said: “The weather’s made a huge difference.

“I used to go to wine bars before, but of course I can’t do that now.

“I have been drinking a lot less and I’ve been walking everywhere.”

Francesca said at the beginning of the lockdown, she sat down on a bench with a glass of prosecco at the end of a long walk. The police questioned her just as a photographer was passing.

“I ended up in The Daily Mail,” she said. “There was a picture of me and a policeman with the headline ‘No fizz please: A Brighton drinker is moved on’.

“I only had one tiny flute. The next day I had phone calls from friends telling me I was in the paper. I couldn’t believe it.”

The Argus:

Lucy Darling, 39, met Diogo Marquez, 35, from Rio, Brazil five years ago.

They fell in love, in spite of having no common language, and at first communicated solely through Google Translate.

They married three years ago. Diogo now speaks fluent English and wants to help other people improve their language skills. As a plasterer, he hasn’t been able to work since the beginning of the lockdown, but he has had more time to spend on his Instagram feed.

“It’s about my life in the UK,” he said. “I encourage Brazilian people improve their lives and give them advice on how to learn English.”

Lucy is an English teacher at a secondary school. She continues to work – learning is now taking place online. She says her younger students are more engaged and about half continue to log on for lessons. The numbers are far lower in the older age groups who are struggling to keep motivated.

The Argus:

Jonathan Evans, 34, has been finding it hard to cope with the way his life has changed. His works on sets and props for TV and was due to start a new job on a television police drama set in Brighton. The series has been postponed because of the pandemic.

“Before, life was going great,” he said. “I was on holiday in the south of Spain on my way to Morocco when I heard that a state of emergency had been called and I had to get back to England.

“Lockdown has been really terrible. I’ve had no work and have just been bashing through my savings.

“I even got turned down for a job at Tesco because I didn’t give the right answers to the multiple choice questions in the interview.

“I have OCD –obsessive compulsive disorder – and I live with people who don’t respect the rules. There have been strangers coming into the house, so I’ve bought a microwave and haven’t been into the kitchen for weeks. I had a slight fear of infection and germs before, but now I feel that nothing is safe and I’ve had days when I’ve washed my hands 30 times or more.

“It’s been eight weeks of new behaviours and I know it will be really hard to break out of that.”

The Argus:

Nicola Harvey, 41, moved from Bromley to Hove at the beginning of May.

She is about to start a new job working for a local mental health charity.

She wanted to live by the sea and decided to move here three months ago.

She said: “The move was really stressful. I had to wear gloves and a mask and keep my distance from the removal men.”

Nicola says that while people in Brighton and Hove still seem to be following lockdown rules, she has noticed a difference in the atmosphere.

“In Bromley, people seem more quiet and cautious,” she said.

“Since moving down here I’ve noticed that people are more friendly.

“I’ve seen people having a drink in their front gardens and saying hello to the neighbours.”

The Argus:

Kim Steggles, 36, lives with her husband Scott and their five-month-old baby Rudi.

She said: “I’m the sort of person who doesn’t worry about things until there’s a problem, and we’ve been fine so far.

“Scott and I both work freelance in advertising so I’d saved up for maternity leave anyway.

“It’s been nice to be together as a family.”

Kim said it has been hard not to be able to take Rudi to see his grandparents.

They have been keeping in touch with regular video calls.

She has also missed seeing friends and going in the sea.

She said: “I want to go paddle boarding and swimming but I haven’t done it, just in case something happens to me.

“I don’t want to risk putting an extra strain on the NHS.”

The Argus:

Amy Engles, 39, moved from London to Brighton five years ago.

Her job in motion graphics has been put on hold during lockdown.

She thinks she may have had the virus as she suffered a high temperature and big reduction in lung capacity.

Since then she has started experiencing wheezing and thinks she may have developed asthma.

In spite of this, she loves having more time to herself to exercise outdoors and says her lungs are continuing to recover.

She said: “I’m having quite a nice time, but I kind of feel guilty about that – I feel like I should be saying how difficult I’ve been finding it.

“It’s been years since I’ve had this much time to do the things I enjoy.

“Normally I’d be commuting to London and I’d have loads of deadlines to meet. Now I go swimming and cycling.”

Amy has found lockdown the perfect time to try something different.

“Last week I bought some roller-skates,” she said. “I haven’t been on a pair since I was 11.”

The Argus:

Lucy Ashworth, 38, lives with her partner Rob Vonglass, 37, and works as an administrator for a networking business called the PCD Club.

She said the company has been innovative in the way it has started to schedule events in response to the pandemic, switching quickly to online alternatives.

“There have been lots of new challenges but I’ve learned a lot and I’m happy that I’m still working and being paid,” she said.

“Weirdly, because we both work from home, the weeks haven’t felt that different.

“It’s on Friday night, when you want to go out and meet with friends that it’s hard.”

Rob finished his degree in illustration a year ago.

He has been furloughed from his bar job and has used the extra time in lockdown to pick up new clients and to work on his portfolio.

He thinks he had the virus just before lockdown started.

He said: “I had a temperature for three days, I was so lethargic and achy.

“It felt like I’d been hit by a bag of oranges.”

• 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. To donate visit