DAME Esther Rantzen is urging pensioners to ditch cruises this year and holiday on the Sussex seaside instead.

The journalist and television presenter said Britons over 70 should not travel abroad as they are at risk of catching the virus.

Instead the 79-year-old suggested Brighton and Angmering as holiday destinations for pensioners.

“Who needs Nice when you have Brighton?” Dame Esther told The Telegraph.

“Maybe we oldies who are the ones most vulnerable if we catch Covid-19 ought to rely on our memories and relive those happy childhood days.

“In the new world, post-pandemic, it may be that what we need to do is rediscover the quaint coastal resorts all around the UK.

“We can roll up our trousers and get out our buckets and spades and shrimping nets, and do what my grandmother did and swim in the freezing waters around the English coast.”

The Argus: Dame Esther hopes British seaside resorts will be revived if pensioners opt to holiday at homeDame Esther hopes British seaside resorts will be revived if pensioners opt to holiday at home

The ChildLine founder hopes British seaside towns will experience a revival as the global travel industry declines.

“All those poor little coastal towns that have had tough times,” she said.

“I hope that one side effect of the virus will be to breathe new life into UK resorts.

“Who knows how long the virus will hang around.

“Leaving the middle seat empty on a plane isn’t enough.

“I can’t believe that air travel is going to be safe.”

“As much as I adore travel, and it has created such fabulous memories for me, I think that, for me, it will be a staycation.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set u p 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.